LAHORE, Jan 31: The federal government is implementing the multi-purpose Diamer Basha Dam through the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) as a priority project because of its numerous benefits for the national economy.

This was stated by Wapda Chairman Syed Raghib Shah during his meeting with Tom Newton, chief operating officer of US-based firm Hydromine, at Wapda House on Thursday.

Speaking on the occasion, Shah said that besides the Diamer Basha Dam Project work on the 4,320 megawatt Dasu Hydropower Project would begin soon, as all prerequisites, including detailed engineering design of the project, had been finalised.These two projects offer windows of opportunities to financial institutions and construction firms for their high economic rate of return.

Dilating upon the benefits, the Wapda chairman said the Diamer Basha Dam with gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet would generate 4,500 megawatt electricity and contribute about 20 billion units of low-cost hydel electricity to the national grid. He said the Dasu Hydropower Project would provide more than 21 billion units of electricity to the system.

Shah said the USAID was now engaged with Wapda to arrange funds for the Diamer Basha Dam, while the World Bank had shown interest in financial assistance for the Dasu Hydropower Project, which would be constructed in stages.

Later, at a meeting with a delegation of the people affected by the Diamer Basha Dam Project, the Wapda chairman said land acquisition, development of infrastructure in the project area, implementation of a social action plan, including construction of a model village for the displaced populace, and other steps leading to socio-economic wellbeing of the affected people were going side by side.

He said special emphasis was being laid on the resettlement action plan prepared in accordance with international safeguard policies and guidelines. A sum of Rs68 billion had been earmarked to provide social services to the affected people in addition to Rs42 billion for acquisition of land and Rs8 billion for compensation of assets, he added.

The chairman said Wapda was cognizant of the ground situation. He assured the delegation that Wapda was making efforts to redress genuine grievances of all stakeholders. — Staff Reporter


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