The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources was informed on Tuesday by the officials that in Reko Diq area of Balochistan total gold and copper reservoirs are over five billion tons, worth over dollar one trillion. Dr Imran Ahmed Khan, Director General (DG) Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) stated this while briefing the committee here with Senator Muhammad Yousaf in the chair.
DG apprised the committee that the landmine was worth trillion of dollars and most precious gemstones in the world were present in the mine. He said the total reserves in that mine were more than five billion tons. He was directed by the committee to give a complete presentation/report regarding layers of Reko Diq. DG informed the committee that within next three weeks a pilot project of eight megawatt electricity located in Thar coal area would become operational, adding if the pilot project was successful then power generation through Thar coal would further be developed in the country.
During the meeting, Khan opposed the construction of upstream mega projects like Bhasha Dam on Tarbela, saying that those were located in zone-IV, which was most vulnerable to severe earthquakes. DG said it was feared that in future an earthquake with magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale might hit the zone-IV, where Tarbela dam was located and another big reservoir over the dam would be affected due to it. He said that construction of water reservoir like Bhasha Dam in the area might result into another severe incident like Attabad Lake case.
He said during last few decades eight severe earthquakes erupted in that area therefore, major reservoirs should not be constructed in the area, adding that Gwadar port was also located in the zone-IV, where billion of rupees were being invested. He said Geological Survey of Pakistan had conveyed it to the authorities concerned and opposed the construction of Sighar houses in Gwadar, but no one took notice so far. The committee directed him to submit that report before the committee.
The Committee said if Bhasha dam was located in zone-IV which was vulnerable to natural calamities then why India was constructing dams and international donors were providing financial aid for it? DG GSP was failed to satisfy the queries of the legislatures in this regard. DG further added that seismic hazards that destroyed the Taxila civilisations were present in the Margalla Hills that might cause destruction in capital in future.
Standing Committee showed concerns over the performance of the department and said that monthly expenses of the department were Rs 250 million, while no output had been seen. Chairman of the Committee Senator Muhammad Yousaf said the department had been failed to deliver therefore it should be closed.
He also disclosed that 83 percent of the babies born in certain areas of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces were born blind and handicapped due to usage of polluted water for drinking. The Ministry of Health had been informed about the matter many times, but no notice had been taken, he added.
During the meeting, Member of the Committee Abdul Nabi Bangash protested against not supplying gas to Hangu from Til Block. The Bangash tribe was being forced to become Bugti, he said, adding if gas was not supplied to Hangu, people would be forced to take up the arms. Standing Committee showed serious concerns over it and asked him to submit detailed report in that regard.
Senators said the situation was so critical in those areas and “our health departments have not bothered to take action so far, which is very unfortunate.” Standing Committee recommended DG GSP to reduce the expenses of the department as they were already burden on the national kitty.