BEIJING: The Dasu hydroelectric power project would provide more than 8,000 jobs to local residents while helping Pakistan government modernise and expand the energy sector, shifting from thermal electricity to clean, low-cost high-reward hydroelectricity, China Daily reported on Friday.
The project, consisting of the main dam, affiliated facilities, a powerhouse, a residential complex and transmission lines, would also help boost development of the local industry, agriculture and tourism, the newspaper said.
China has contracted to build the project situated in remote mountainous terrain in the upper Indus Valley in Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
China Gezhouba Group Co Limited (CGGC) has agreed to invest more than $1.72 billion for the construction of main works of the 4,320-megawatt hydroelectric power project.
CGGC Vice President Deng Yinqi said the power project, on completion, would be capable of generating 12 billion kilowatt-hours annually.
Another Chinese newspaper, Global Times, quoted experts as saying that the project would benefit Chinese enterprises as well as improve livelihoods in Pakistan.
CGGC said in a statement that the project would be one of the most difficult hydroelectric power stations to build and will have the largest capacity and investment in Pakistan.
Zhou Rong, senior research fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said employment opportunities would be brought to an underdeveloped region.
“When people set foot on the path of prosperity, with the help of Chinese builders, they will develop a heartfelt feeling towards China, providing double assurance to the iron-clad relationship between China and Pakistan,” Zhou told Global Times.
Dasu is a flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of the One Belt One Road initiative.
Zhou noted that the project getting the green light showed China’s efforts to make the development of CPEC more balanced between developed and undeveloped regions, and between safer and riskier regions of Pakistan.
Many of the CPEC projects are located in Punjab and Sindh, which makes economic sense as these are the more developed provinces and are home to about 80% of Pakistan’s population, but there are voices from other provinces that say CPEC should be more balanced.
Zhou added the Dasu project demonstrated that CPEC would benefit all of Pakistan.