PM Nawaz to personally monitor Diamer-Bhasha dam project
ISLAMABAD, April 17: With energy crisis expected to exacerbate in the summer months, prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that he will personally monitor progress of the 4,500 megawatt Diamer-Bhasah dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, directing that security for foreign consultants be ensured.
During a briefing on the project at the PM house on Thursday, Nawaz noted that the project will not only help augment energy requirements of the country but will also prove to be a source of development for Gilgit-Baltistan. He added that he will be monitoring progress of the project personally and will visit the site soon.
To this effect, Nawaz directed that 1 percent of the project’s $13.87 billion cost would be allocated specifically for environmental conservation so that local vegetation and wildlife resources are not affected and first preference for un-skilled jobs should be given to locals of the project area.
Noting the security situation in the region, the prime minister further directed that foreign consultants working on the project should be given all possible security, costs for which should be adjusted in the project cost.
Nawaz was briefed that a separate unit of Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts was being raised specifically to provide security to the project and personnel involved and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had already been signed with interior ministry.
142 km alternate route to be built on KKH
The project’s construction is expected to affect 100 kilometers of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) will be affected.
To mitigate the effects of this closure, the permier was told that an alternate route stretching for 142km will be built on KKH.
Nawaz directed that Wapda chairman should visit the project site immediately and report the updated status regarding progress of work.
The project is expected to provide a gross storage of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and live storage of 6.4 MAF and the total cost of the project is $13.87 billion with a completion time of nine years. The project will have an installed capacity of 4,500MW, generated by 12 units of 375MW each. They are expected to generate revenue of $2.216 billion per annum, paying back its cost in eight years and extend the life of Tarbela reservoir by 35 years.
Nawaz was told that land acquisition for the project is in process. To accommodate the displaced people, three model villages, one each at Thak Das, Harpan Das and Kino Das with all basic amenities shall be developed. These model villages will resettle 4,228 affected households.