Diamer Bhasha Dam: Russia wants to take up project without bidding

Published: September 12, 2012
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The Diamer Bhasha Dam is a strategic project with power generation capacity of 4,500MW, which is crucial in overcoming the energy crisis. PHOTO: FILE

The Diamer Bhasha Dam is a strategic project with power generation capacity of 4,500MW, which is crucial in overcoming the energy crisis. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Russia is seeking direct award of a construction contract for the $13 billion Diamer Bhasha Dam in a government-to-government deal without resorting to international competitive bidding, sources say.

Faced with water and power shortages, Pakistan is looking for funds from China and Russia, who in turn want a government-to-government deal without international bidding.

The government’s search for funds came after multilateral donors asked Pakistan to get a no-objection certificate from India for the dam’s construction.

China and Russia want a similar arrangement for undertaking the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which has faced fierce opposition from the United States.

According to sources, Pakistan and Russia are likely to strike a final deal on the dam during visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Islamabad next month.

“A meeting of Pak-Russia inter-ministerial commission will be held before the visit of Russian president, which will work out a mechanism for financing mega projects,” a government official said.

In a meeting of the Inter-governmental Commission (IGC) held here on Monday, government officials gave a detailed briefing to the Russian team on planned energy projects. However, sources said, Russia made no firm commitment to the dam.

According to the official, it was just a preparatory meeting to discuss different projects, which could be tabled during deliberations with the Russian president.

In the IGC meeting, the Russian side was told that Bhasha Dam was a strategic project with power generation capacity of 4,500 megawatts to overcome the energy crisis. It will have water storage capacity of 8.5 million acre feet to feed the agricultural sector.

Chinese offer

The Chinese government has already offered Pakistan skilled labour for the construction of Bhasha Dam. China has 17,000 skilled workers, who have worked on the giant Three Gorges Dam, which is producing 30,000 megawatts of electricity.

On the other hand, multilateral donors have asked Pakistan to seek a no-objection certificate from India to pave the way for financing the dam, which they say is situated in a disputed territory. Instead, they have offered to finance another project – Dasu hydropower, but the government has rejected the plan and wants to complete Bhasha Dam first.

On Monday, a delegation of the World Bank, headed by Country Director Rachid Benmessaud, called on Federal Water and Power Minister Ahmed Mukhtar and once again offered to finance phase-I of the Dasu project.

Dasu hydropower project is situated 7 km upstream of Dasu village on Indus River and 350 km from Islamabad. The project is located in Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Vikas
    Sep 12, 2012 - 4:29AM

    Don’t worry. Neither China nor Russia will finance the dam as it is in PoK.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Sep 12, 2012 - 4:49AM

    Allow them the project

    Pakistan Steel Mill was also built by Russians with bid and they did solid job

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  • Nadir
    Sep 12, 2012 - 5:41AM

    Such a process is good enough to issue contracts to the NLC, then why not to all weather friend China and imaginary future best friend Russia? Anti-corruption rhetoric can be ignored in this instance.

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  • John B
    Sep 12, 2012 - 5:42AM

    Until PoK issue is firmly resolved with India, it is unlikely to happen. $13 billion + project comes with lot of legal ramifications.

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  • just_someone
    Sep 12, 2012 - 7:40AM

    @John B:
    Please explain to me what the legal ramifications are? Im guessing youre Indian so let me ask which legal avenue exists for you to hold us accountable in any sense for what we do in G-B which India has conjured up as a part of Kashmir which is not true because in 35 the price of Kashmir gave it up to the British and it was a not part of Kashmir but part of the British Raj hence goes to Pakistan based on its muslim majority..
    IF there was a legal avenue where you could do anything, it would have been done. On the other end of the coin, we would have sued you years ago for all the projects you are undertaking in IOK.
    The fact of the matter is India is just acting childish because this is all they can do other than marching their army in the region. I am a strong proponent of peace with India but BS comments like yours are idiotic and they need to be straightened out! Dont talk unless you know enough!

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  • just_someone
    Sep 12, 2012 - 7:41AM

    @Vikas:
    It is hilarious to see Russia is so interested in this. Indians must be burning from inside knowing that!

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  • Treck
    Sep 12, 2012 - 8:08AM

    @just_someone
    No we Indians know Pakistan will stick itself to Russia or China now that USA is off the friendship list. We are strong enough to stay independent and not affected by the supposedly Master Slave relationship between Russia and Pakistan.

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  • Observer
    Sep 12, 2012 - 8:36AM

    @just_someone:

    “Please explain to me what the legal ramifications are?…….which legal avenue exists for you to hold us accountable in any sense for what we do in G-B”

    There are many international legal issues. First, according to Pakistani constitution GB, Azad Kashmir are not part of Pakistan. This also has been Pakistan’s position in its insistence on the UN resolutions.

    With such legal issues, the international donors and other investors will face considerable risk on their investment. That is the reason, ADB, IMF, World Bank are insisting on a no objection certificate from India.

    Let me give you an easier example to follow. If you decide to construct a house on a lot that is not legally owned by you, would any bank or investors be willing to loan you money?

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  • Raj - USA
    Sep 12, 2012 - 9:14AM

    @just_someone:
    On the contrary, India should welcome it for various reasons.
    (1) Economic growth in Pakistan is good for India also.
    (2) It will dissuade undesirable elements from attacking dams on Indian side as India also can retaliate.
    (3) Most importantly, Russian and Chinese assistance shall have conditions. They would bring their manpower also, particularly China. Large presence of Chinese and Russians will keep the bad elements in check. Also both Russia and China will safeguard their investments and shall not allow any undesirable activities. It would be better for India if the project goes to China. We all saw how they handled the Burma incidence. China’s warning stopped Pakistan from exploiting the situation that could have had a spill over effect in India. China means business and who else can act firmer than China. I believe both China and Russia are preparing for the day US forces shall vacate the region. Both China and Russia want absolute control so that there is no clash or conflict of interest with the other. Pakistan can play one against the other and get the best possible deal. If terrorism is eliminated from the region it would benefit both India and Pakistan tremendously.

    India has built many dams on its side. Let Pakistan also build some.

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  • herpy-derpy
    Sep 12, 2012 - 12:22PM

    @Treck: and you guys are independent – what do you people manufacture to call yourself independent? The shining India is surviving on services sector which were off-loaded from the west. Call centers anyone haha? the day western governments pulled out call centers and other IT service sectors from you people, Indian economy will have some serious problems.

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  • Abdul
    Sep 12, 2012 - 12:48PM

    @observer : First of all the basis of your argument is worng. As explained by Just_someone GB is never considered to be the part of Kashmir. The Nawabs of that area voted themselves to be a part of Pakistan hence you see the first map of Pakistan including the GB area.
    India is using its diplomacy to isert the impression the impression that GB is a disputed teritory but on the contrary there are no two views that GB is a Pakistani Province. As far as Azad Kashmir is concerend, India is carrying out projects in IoK to facilitate the ppl there and use it for the rest of India as well. SO WAT IF PAK DOES THE SAME. International donors are mere puppets at the hands of wealthy nations. So as a commoner i dun hav any issues if both Basha and Dasu dam are constructed with competitive bidding as both projects can be ruled as ‘in the larger interest of the Pakistani public’.

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  • nadeem
    Sep 12, 2012 - 1:22PM

    india is shining and independent.what about millions of people living on the footpaths of big cities?does there india is yet to be freed?

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  • sgrr
    Sep 12, 2012 - 1:43PM

    In the present scenario can any one think to deal like it. Our supreme court will scratch the deal on the premises that PEMRA rules were not followed on a petition of Transparency International

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  • Truth Bites
    Sep 12, 2012 - 1:47PM

    First dont know how a down stream dam can affect on Indian interests other than just they are against anything Pakistan will do.

    If India is pressurising international funding for any project in Pakistan, Pakistan should and must go for whatever it can to resolve this issue and go for Chinese and Russian offers. Bidding or no bidding, only thing Pakistan should worry, there will be no kick backs for Zardari and cronies in place, rest should be fine!

    Can do and go getter attitude is needed now from Pakistan!

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  • IchDien
    Sep 12, 2012 - 2:15PM

    Base upon the logic that Bhasha Dam by virtue of being located inside a disputed territory held by Pakistan is controversial and (maybe) illegal under international law, I would say the below listed projects should also be declared same as all of them are on the disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir held by India.

    Salal Hydroelectric Power Station
    Nimoo Bazgo Project
    Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant
    Dumkhar Dam
    Dulhasti
    Chutak Hydroelectric Project
    Baglihar Dam
    Uri Dam
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  • antanu g
    Sep 12, 2012 - 2:29PM

    @Vikas:
    lets see…

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  • antanu g
    Sep 12, 2012 - 2:31PM

    @Treck:
    Then why did we voted against Iran and reduced oil import from the country as directed by US?

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  • Nawaz
    Sep 12, 2012 - 3:45PM

    The corrupt leadership in Pakistan will never build any dams as it will help Pakistan. The current leadership is on a mission to destroy Pakistan. So far they have done quite a decent job on it. But i hope change comes to Pakistan. I hope the people of this great country wake up and vote for change. PTI is the only hope for Pakistan. We need Imran Khan to lead this country out of the mess we are in.Recommend

  • Surywaradhan
    Sep 12, 2012 - 4:10PM

    The kind of anxiety this pull out of international funding agencies has generated is very interesting. It throws some light on the positions these two nations share on a global platform. So while India goes about constructing dams and other infrastructural projects at a brink pace without much resistance, Pakistan is having to seek approval from India in the part of Kashmir it administers. This reluctance from funding agencies could be inspired from the dodgy purposes Pakistan has been utilizing the development funds for in the past. Also, the funding agencies are aware that Pakistani economy does not have the capacity to generate those kind of funds on its own, so can be easily maneuvered and if required, arm-twisted. In contrast, you just have to see how India cared a hoot about the sanctions imposed upon itself after the ’98 nuclear tests and showed the world what steel it is made of. And similarly after the ’08-09 economic slowdown. It was India’s very own manufacturing, industries and ITeS sector that stood the test of time and came out victors. And the whole world acknowledges and respects it. So pessimists can keep imagining of a situation that it will crumble someday owing to a pullout from western countries. Pakistanis must understand that be it Russia or China, they have their own ambitions and interests in Pakistan, just like the US. And look what US has done to your country. It could be a long and difficult struggle to stand up and take baby steps, but it is about time Pakistan did so. The strength they seek from the US or China has to come from within Pakistan.

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  • B
    Sep 12, 2012 - 4:27PM

    @nadeem: I am one of them that sleeps on the footpaths. I have a back problem so I need it. What is your problem with me sleeping on the footpath. My “bed” is more safe and confortable than your grand palace.

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  • joy
    Sep 12, 2012 - 6:21PM

    @ B
    please let these people be. after all, they need all the water to run their cars :)

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  • murtaza hasan
    Sep 12, 2012 - 6:42PM

    well to all the people above who are sayin that dam cannot be built or funded as its situated in disputed territory so called PoK….. then y this condition is only for pak???? why india is building dams in IHK……….thats hypocrisy

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  • gp65
    Sep 12, 2012 - 7:02PM

    @herpy-derpy: “@Treck: and you guys are independent – what do you people manufacture to call yourself independent? The shining India is surviving on services sector which were off-loaded from the west.”

    India’s exports last year were $300 billion. This was mercantile trade and did not include any service exports.
    Inida exports textiles and garments, leather products, gems and jewelry, refined petroleum products, chemicals, generic pharmaceuticals, automobiles and much more.

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  • gp65
    Sep 12, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @murtaza hasan: “well to all the people above who are sayin that dam cannot be built or funded as its situated in disputed territory so called PoK….. then y this condition is only for pak???? why india is building dams in IHK……….thats hypocrisy”

    Build them if you can find someone to finance them.

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  • amir omani
    Sep 12, 2012 - 7:11PM

    the india even change the the name HITLER store on ISRAIL preasur

    thy are burning now…and about AZAD KASHMIR did u forget it …we took it back in65…forcefully..we dnt need any kind of NOC from any1…..

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  • Nand
    Sep 12, 2012 - 8:10PM

    @amir omani: 1971 East Pakistan gone, North part of Kashmir given to China, NW and FATA give to terrorists. Balochistan going the India/USA’s way. ALL this with your NOC.

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  • amir omani
    Sep 12, 2012 - 8:24PM

    [email protected]
    this is a nightmare dear…i belong to KPK…FATA….DARA ADAM KHAL
    there is nothg like wt u r saying….the media is just exagerating matters….about BALUCHISTAN there is only BUGTI tribe who making problems…USA will soon be a part of history in AFG…and about india dear ur ppl in AFG thay will bring there heads in their hands..or will be buried there…so my advice to indians in AFG plz leave AFG b4 US with drawl
    and in INDIA..166 District there r violence..dear u r not capable of fighting with MAO BAGHIS and Neksalets…thay r killing ur soldiers how u will fight others

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  • Indian
    Sep 12, 2012 - 8:45PM

    By u r argument the Raja of Kashmir voted for India……………..

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  • Rajagopal
    Sep 12, 2012 - 9:34PM

    @nadeem:
    The footpaths in India are far safer than the mosques in Pakistan.

    One can get peaceful sleep on a Indian footpath without worrying about being blownup, beheaded, shot, blasphemied etc.

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  • murtaza hasan
    Sep 12, 2012 - 9:52PM

    brother gp65 the point am tryin to say is why stop funding for pak for one reason and not apply da same to india i mean the whole kashmir territory is disputed. countries financin u to build dams in IHK dun fund pak in the same manner. well thats there bussiness to be honest, whom they want to give there money to but a better reason must sp there decision. whether pak finds someone to finance her dams or not dats a seperate thing maybe v do maybe v dont. but this hypocrisy on part of funding is a bit lopsided

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  • Vikas
    Sep 12, 2012 - 10:22PM

    @nadeem:
    They are your brothers and sisters who stayed back.

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  • Vikas
    Sep 12, 2012 - 10:25PM

    @nadeem:
    They are your brothers and sisters, who are left behind.

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  • Nand
    Sep 12, 2012 - 11:54PM

    @amir omani: Time will tell who gets its tail between their legs. We have shown and proved to you four times, my dear child.

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  • Nand
    Sep 12, 2012 - 11:58PM

    @amir omani: “i belong to KPK…FATA….DARA ADAM KHAL
    there is nothg like wt u r saying….the media is just exagerating matters…”
    It is not just the media but Pakistanis. Please correct these two so that I can correct mine.

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  • Treck
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:58AM

    @herpy-derpy
    Clearly you have no clue about India’s exports and other sectors as you are one of the mass production of brainwashing, come out of the cocoon and smell the coffee.

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  • gp65
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:18AM

    @murtaza hasan: “brother gp65 the point am tryin to say is why stop funding for pak for one reason and not apply da same to india i mean the whole kashmir territory is disputed. countries financin u to build dams in IHK dun fund pak in the same manner”:

    You can address me as ‘sister gp65’ in future if you like since I am a woman. Anyway, India did not go to World Bank and ADB for getting funds for the projects you are referring to. India used its own budget. If India had gone to World Bank/ADB for funding, it would probably also have been asked to get NOC from Pakistan.
    Secondly India says J&K is an Indian state and is willing to take sovereign libility for any loans taken by J&K state. Pakistan constitution says that Gilgit Baltistan is not part of Pakistan that GB has its own constitution and its own parliament. So tomorrow if repayment is not made who should the lending authority go to?
    So no double standards.

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  • Yasser
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:20AM

    Dear Indians.
    By saying Azad Kashmir as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir “PoK” is litterly wrong and highly absurd.
    Firstly G-B’s people celebrated overwhelmingly on becoming G-B the part of Pakistan as a province and themselves as Pakistani Nation. Blessfully, the people in Azad Kashmir (So called PoK by indians) are living there in peace and harmony AND on the contrary NOT LIKE Indian Occupied Kashmir “IoK” where around 350-400k armed personal are only deployed with in the city only by Indian Army as the people need their right of self determination.
    Amnesty International has repeatedly urged that the Indian Armed Personel in Jammu and Kashmir to act in consonance with minimum standards of humanitarian law and today reiterates this appeal. Other unlawful killings have been carried out by agents of the state, including state police, central police force and miliary or paramilitary forces.
    This is a real and historical fact which no one can deny in this stipulation in first case, …..

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  • Observer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 4:35AM

    @murtaza hasan:

    “. then y this condition is only for pak???? why india is building dams in IHK……….thats hypocrisy”

    According to Indian constitution, J&K is part of India. That is the case for Pakistan. Also, India can fund these projects by itself while Pakistan can’t.

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  • ammar
    Sep 13, 2012 - 9:43PM

    @Vikas:
    my friend it is azad kashmir.

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  • Observer
    Sep 14, 2012 - 1:26AM

    @Observer:

    “@murtaza hasan:
    “. then y this condition is only for pak???? why india is building dams in IHK……….thats hypocrisy”
    According to Indian constitution, J&K is part of India. That is the case for Pakistan. Also, India can fund these projects by itself while Pakistan can’t. “

    I meant to say “that is not the case for Pakistan”.

    Also, is Azad Kashmir/GB free or not? If they are indeed “free” and not part of Pakistan as per its constitution and official position, how can international investors give Pakistan the money for dams or other projects in these areas that are not officially part of Pakistan?

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  • Nawab
    Oct 24, 2012 - 9:55PM

    If the Russians and Chinese require that they will build and finance the project on a state to state agreement basis, then Pakistan should agree in principle, and appoint an independent engineer to monitor the project.
    ,Recommend

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