Damaan Bachao Taralla
development induced destructions
Chashma Irrigation Project
histories of chashma struggles
Chashma Lok Sath
  opening declaration
Chashma Inspection
  what is inspection?
  Claims and Process
People's Struggles
News& Updates
  Relevant Links
About Us
  who are we
  aims and objectives


Brief Introduction
click to view the larger map of the project
Click above to view the illustrated summary of design failures and subsequent damages of Chashma Project

Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project is an extensive irrigation project in Pakistan constructing a 274-kilometer canal along the Indus River, 72 distribution canals, 68 cross-drainage structures, 91 bridges and runs through two districts in the Punjab and Northwest Frontier Provinces. Stages I and II of the Chashma Irrigation Project are already completed. Initiated in 1992, Stage III is due for completion in end-December 2003. It will irrigate 606,000 acres of land in both D.I. Khan and D.G. Khan districts in central Pakistan.

The project objectives are to (i) provide a dependable perennial irrigation supply, (ii) ensure efficient distribution of water, (iii) provide necessary drainage and flood relief, (iv) improve access within the area, and (v) strengthen agriculture support services.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been the main financier of the US$454 million project (stage III), providing US$299 million or 66 percent of the total project cost. The Pakistani government and KfW of Germany provide the remaining costs. Implementing agency is the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

The third stage of this project has caused numerous environmental and social problems , including:

                  • - Project design-related social and environmental problems
                  • - Project-induced flooding and resettlement
                  • - Land acquisition and compensation
                  • - Project management, irregularities and corruption
                  • - Environmental concerns
                  • - Terminating the traditional irrigation systems
                  • - Information sharing, participation and consultation with the affectees
                  • - Marred mobility.

These problems and impacts affect people痴 basic rights including the right to livelihood, resettlement and adequate compensation, access to information and consultation. Many of these rights are guarded in national laws. Similarly, legal and historical rights of local communities over floodwater are also affected by this project. These historical and legal rights were formally negotiated between local communities and the British Indian Government at the start of twentieth century. These rights are still part of national irrigation laws.

Since February 2001, the local communities and their NGO representatives have repreatedly conveyed their concerns to the ADB and the Pakistani government agencies. However, their concerns have not been appropriately or sufficiently addressed. On 25 November 2002, the local communities submitted an Inspection request to the ADB regarding the alleged policy violations of the ADB.

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Concerns of Local Communities

Since the design of this project, voices, livelihoods and rights of the local communities violated by this project have been continuously ignored.The implementation of this project has caused numerous problems, including involuntary displacement and compensation disputes, a severe lack of transparency and consultation with the affected people for the planning and implementation of the project, and various other social and environmental impacts, such as: flooding, influx of outsiders, land degradation, deforestation, disruptions in life style, community networks, market links and constraints in mobility and etc.


Forced Land Acquisition: The land acquisition and compensation process has been in toal violation of national laws throughout the project implementation process. The land acquisition (construction of the project) began in 1995 while the formal process of notification started in December 2001.

Demand of people violated for "land to land" compensation has been ignored; furthermore, process of land and asset valuation for compensation has been done without consultations with the people violated, and compensation is substantially below the market rate.Payment of compensation has been delayed substantially, and the corruption of government official has further hindered the people from receiving compensations. Documentation process of the land acquisition has been arbitrary, and the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the land records are highly questionable.

Flooding: the construction of the project has interrupted the natural flow of the floodwater and resulted in massive flooding in the west side of the main canal and in the Riverine Belt of the Indus River.

Flooding has caused intense social and environmental impacts in the project area. Social harms include: loss of life, property, livelihoods, and impoverishment of the local communities. For an example, in the village of Sokkar in the west side of the main canal, a young boy drowned to death, 78 houses were damaged and many people lost their belongings and stored weat by a single flood in 2001.

In the west side of the canal, people's demand for resettlement plan has been denied, and many villages facing the threat of flooding have been ignored. Some villages were given small cash compensation for their involuntary resettlement, and high walls ("Flood Protection Embankments") are built around the 8 villagers, where the villagers live in fear of drowning to death and feel imprisoned.

No compensation or remedy has been offered to the communities in the Riverine Belt.

Lifestyle Disruptions: Construction of the project resuted in vaious forms of disruptions in the lives of the local communities, including the disintegration of existing community support networks, disabling of Rowed-kohi system, the traditional irrigation system of Damaan area, severance of the mobility of local communities, raput in-migration of tribal Pushtun, etc.
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Other Details of the Project
Project Description: Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is a large-scale irrigation project in Pakistan constructing a 274-kilometer canal along the Indus River beginning at Chashma Barrage. This project also includes the construction of 72 distribution canals, 68 cross-drainage structures, 91 bridges and runs through two districts in the Punjab and Northwest Frontier Provinces. The project began in 1978. Stages I and II were completed in 1987 and 1994, respectively. Work on Stage III, which began in 1993, is 94 percent physically complete as of October 2002, and the loan is now expected to close in December 2003. Stage III covers 144 kilometers (90 miles) of the length of the canal, and a cultivable command area of 135,000 hectares.
Project Cost (Stage III): US$454 million
  • Loan from Asian Development Bank (ADB): US$299 million or approximately 66% of the toal project cost (US$185 million approved in 1991; US$33.5 million in 1999 to cover the cost overrun)
  • Loan from KfW of Germany: US$40 million or 22%
  • Government of Pakistan: remaining 14%

The project cost was originally estimated at Rs 1,570 million. Today, project cost has ballooned eleven-fold, to Rs 17,000 million. By April 1999, and with only 15% of the project completed, there were already extensive project delays and cost overruns.

Instead of requesting a new loan for CRBIP III, the Government of Pakistan proposed to utilize funds from another ADB project -- National Drainage Sector Project -- to meet Chasma's cost overruns. In July 1999, ADB approved a transfer of US$33.5 million from the drainage project to CRBIP III. As a consequence, cost overrun estimates for CRBIP III were reduced, resulting in a surplus of US$5.1 million that was redirected back to the National Drainage Project.

Executing Agency: Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) is the main executing agency for this project.
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