ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday approved in principle the financing plan for Diamer-Bhasha dam, which will add 4,500MWs of electricity to the national grid after its completion.
An official statement said the dam portion of the project will be funded on ‘self-reliance basis’ from the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) allocations and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) generated resources.
“The rest of the financing for the power generation portion will be arranged on commercial basis by the [water and power] ministry either through Wapda or through leasing its existing projects,” it said.
The efforts to finance the project through multilateral donors had been taking a longer time and Pakistan needed to enhance its storage capacity urgently to meet the challenge of water scarcity.
The prime minister approved the ‘innovative proposal’ in principle and asked the water and power secretary, planning secretary and finance secretary to accelerate completion of the financial proposal.
Premier Nawaz also instructed the water and power secretary to start preparations so that the physical work on the dam could be started before the end of 2017. Diamer-Bhasha Dam was approved for construction by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in 2009.
The storage capacity in the existing dams is fast deleting due to silting and the country, losing on its agricultural production after every few years due to a dry season, needs to overcome this by constructing more storages.
Diamer-Bhasha Dam will provide 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) of gross storage of which 6.4 MAF will be the live storage. It will have a capacity to produce 4,500MWs of ‘cheap and clean’ hydel electricity.
The prime minister also appreciated the fact that due to the efforts of the ministry and the Gilgit-Baltistan administration the land for the project has been acquired.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2016.
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