Somersault by the ADB on Bhasha

Published: August 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had agreed in June this year to partly fund the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam through the provision of $5 billion. The rest of the funding was to come from the US, which committed to provide $1billion over five years, whereas the Islamic Development Fund and the Kuwait Funds also agreed to partly fund the project. The dam is designed to generate 20 billion units per annum and contribute $5 million a day to the national economy. Any delay in the provision of funds would additionally cost $1.825 billion a year.

In a strange turn of events, the ADB has backtracked from its commitment to finance the project. It had earlier partly funded the Mangla Dam on the Pakistani side of Kashmir and did not seek any NOC that it now seeks from India in the case of the Bhasha-Diamer Dam. It seems that the ADB’s inability to counter Indian influence is at play here as that country is the third largest shareholder of the bank. The World Bank has also shown reluctance in funding the project as it is now seeking an NOC from India on the issue.

It is a dilemma for Pakistan because by going to India for an NOC, the whole issue would legitimise the status of Gilgit-Baltistan as a disputed territory. It would be in the fitness of things that instead of going to these institutions, Pakistan looks elsewhere for funding the project. China, Arab countries and Turkey could be approached for formation of a consortium to fund the project. There is a need to gather banks, lending agencies, local investors, etc to contribute towards this project, which may become an asset in combating impending water shortages in the country.

Engineer Javed Iqbal

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.

Reader Comments (5)

  • Jibran Khan
    Aug 14, 2012 - 10:30PM

    By not giving due rights to people of Gilgit Baltistan, the Pakistan government itself has declared Gilgit Baltistan as disputed area. Political leadership and bureaucrats are not serious in resolving the public issues other wise over 50,000 MW of electricity can easily be generated from GB.

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  • Ali
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:50AM

    Does the ADB and WB ask the Indians to seek NOC from Pakistan when financing similar projects in disputed Indian held Kasmir? If not then there is no need for Pakistan to do so. Pakistan needs formulate policies to stop relying on WB , ADB and their owned and affiliated organisations as they have their own agenda’s and come with conditions that are detrimental to political and strategic interests of the country. Also, WB is asking Pakistan to shelve the Basha dam project for 10 years and instead concentrate on Dasu project in KPH, for which it is willing to finance (with conditions). With the pace of dam constructions and river diversions in Indian held Kashmir, in 10 years time you will not be able to build Basha even if financing was available as there will be not enough water inflows in to the project.

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  • Vikas
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:57AM

    How dare Pakistan construct dam on Indian land.

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  • Khurshid Anwer
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:26PM

    The 4 year delay by ADB has added $500 million per year to the $12 billion cost of the project. Also deprived Pakistan of $8 billion in benefits at the rate of $2 billion per year. At this rate we have also lost 18 X 2 = 36 billion dollars by not building Kalabagh dam

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  • rikky(India)
    Aug 19, 2012 - 1:10PM

    @Khurshid Anwer:

    The 4 year delay by ADB has added $500
    million per year to the $12 billion
    cost of the project. Also deprived
    Pakistan of $8 billion in benefits at
    the rate of $2 billion per year. At
    this rate we have also lost 18 X 2 =
    36 billion dollars by not building
    Kalabagh dam

    yes,you should ask ADB to return 36-8=28 billion dollars to pakistan…array yar its pakistan’s money,ya bhi koi baat hai .

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