Movement of heavy machinery poses threat to Tarbela Dam

Sources say excessive weight of heavy machinery might damage spillway gates

Yawar Hayat August 18, 2021
Move comes after WAPDA fails to fill Tarbela Dam to its peak. PHOTO: FILE


The movement of heavy machinery for the Tarbela Dam fifth expansion project is posing a serious threat to the dam’s spillway gates.

On August 12, Prime Minister Imran Khan had performed the ground-breaking of the fifth extension project of the Tarbela Dam.

According to sources, while transporting the heavy machinery to the construction site, laid down rules and procedures were being violated, posing a direct threat to the existing dam and its spillways.

The excessive weight of heavy machinery might damage the spillway gates of the world’s largest earth-filled dam, the sources claimed, fearing a catastrophe if the damage is done.

The sources said that the breach of SOPs by the contractor was on the rise while the management is unaware of the fact.

According to the sources, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has been told about the issue, but to no avail.

Read Tarbela loses 40% capacity due to silting

According to the sources, local workers have also been denied jobs in the project as per quota.


n addition, workers were also not being provided facilities and related allowances.

An attempt was made to contact the dam administration however, no official could be reached to seek comments.

The project will be completed in 2024. The World Bank (WB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are providing $390mn and $300mn, respectively, for the project.

The project aims to generate another 1,530 MW of low cost and environmentally friendly electricity. With the completion of T-5, the installed capacity of Tarbela Dam will increase from 4,888 MW to 6,418 MW.

Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Lt. Gen. (retd) Muzamil Hussain briefed the prime minister about the project. The premier was told that the T-5 Hydropower Project will enhance Tarbela Dam’s life by addressing sedimentation and ensuring sustainable irrigation releases.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Imran Khan had said, “We should focus our energies on generating clean power that does not harm the environment,” he said, adding that the government must try to make use of minimum fuel to generate electricity.

PM Khan had said that completing Dasu and Bhasha dams on time was very important for the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2021.


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