PM vows to build 10 dams in as many years

Imran says construction essential to avert looming threat of water scarcity


News Desk August 13, 2021
PM Imran Khan at the groundbreaking of the Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project.

TARBELA:

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the government had decided to construct 10 dams in as many years with a view to avert the looming threat of water scarcity in the country as well as protect the future generations.

“We have decided to construct 10 dams including Dasu and Bhasha dams within 10 years. We may face water shortage in the future and would be unable to cope with the needs of people and farmers unless we have storage,” the prime minister said while addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the Tarbela-5 (T5) expansion project.

With the financial assistance of the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the project costing $807 million would be completed within a three-year period.

The project is aimed at protecting the Tarbela Dam against silting besides helping generate 1,530 MW of electricity and provide 1.34 billion units of power to the national grid.

The construction of the Tarbela-5 expansion project would also beget 3,000 jobs and enhance the power production capacity of the Tarbela Hydropower Project from 4,888 MW to 6,418 MW. It would also play an important role to cope with the country’s needs of water, food, and energy.

Under the project, the water supply for irrigation purposes would also continue.

The prime minister, who earlier unveiled the plaque, said the project’s objective was to achieve clean energy and make Pakistan contribute to the fight against global warming.

Referring to the latest research, the prime minister said the world weather was turning hot very fast making the world face the issues like forest fires as had been witnessed in the US, Turkey, Greece, and other countries.

Imran said unfortunately, the previous governments had not constructed water reservoirs either due to lack of long-term planning or because they were just focused on their five-year term.

He told the gathering that the construction of the Bhasha dam was decided in 1984 but was not constructed owing to a lack of long-term planning.

The prime minister said the previous governments had signed exorbitant contracts making the country pay whether the electricity was consumed or not. This way, the consumers including the industry had to bear the cost. Owing to the costly electricity, the industry could not compete with the world market until the government paid a subsidy.

He said China was making progress just because of the long-term planning.

Imran said Pakistan’s rivers got 80% of water inflow within three to four months and the construction of reservoirs was extremely essential to store and supply water throughout the year.

He hoped that the construction of the Mohmand dam would be completed by 2025 and Bhasha dam 2028 which would ensure the protection of future generations.

The prime minister particularly appreciated the performance of Water and Power Development Authority Chairman Lt General (retd) Muzammil Hussain for keeping up the construction work of dams despite Covid-related restrictions.

Separately, Federal Minister for Energy Muhammad Hammad Azhar called on Premier Imran and briefed him on the overall energy situation in the country.

The PM was also briefed on the government’s reform agenda for the energy sector, the PM Office said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin briefed PM Imran about the progress on Kamyab Pakistan Programme

Imran Khan expressed satisfaction over the Kamyab Pakistan Programme, saying that this was the first project of its kind in the country’s history which would help people to get employment, own a house, and get agricultural machinery.

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