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World Bank unanimously approves Dasu project


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WASHINGTON: The World Bank unanimously approved on Tuesday the Dasu hydro electric power project and in a pleasant surprise for Pakistan the United States also voted in favour.

The US administration had earlier warned Pakistan that due to congressional constraint, they would prefer to abstain, although they support the plan.

On Monday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar telephoned US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and requested him to vote for Dasu, arguing that the support would not only help Pakistan complete this project but would also strengthen the government’s efforts to deal with the country’s agonising energy crisis.

The Pakistan Embassy in Washington also played a key role in winning over the US endorsement, lobbying Congress, the White House and the State Department.

Earlier, all 25 members of the World Bank’s executive board met in Washington to consider Pakistan’s request for financial support for the project. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the managing director and the chief operating officer, chaired the meeting. Sri Indrawati is former finance minister of Indonesia.

Dasu hydro electric power or Dasu Dam is a critical project to meet the energy needs of Pakistan with a potential to generate 4200 MWs of cheap electricity. Upon completion, it will substantially increase the generation capacity of the country, reduce subsidies, change the fuel mix and bring down the cost of electricity generation.

“Today’s decision by the World Bank to support the project is a reflection of the international financial institutions’ confidence on Pakistan’s economic revival and its clear vision to overcome the energy requirements of the country,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani. “It will also open the sector of hydel-power generation to the private participation.

Progress on this critical project for Pakistan will help forge the Pakistan-US partnership on a lasting basis and further strengthen the bilateral relations.”

The Dasu project is already appraised and the donors had earlier assured Pakistan that if it sends out the approval letter, the International Development Association, a World Bank funding agency, would give credit of $700 million for resettlement, and other preparatory works needed.

The grace period of this credit would be 10 years. Debt servicing would start 5 years after generation from Dasu. On Dasu, first unit would be produced in 5 years.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2014

Comments (14) Closed

samar Jun 11, 2014 09:58am

development of the decade

Faiz Jun 11, 2014 12:38pm

Finally a real development project.. Can NS govt. complete it in record time?

Truth Jun 11, 2014 01:18pm

The work will be slow as usual, besides we can build hundreds of these small dams to reduce our dependence on Imported and expensive Furnace Oil. Yet, everyone seems to be fixated on using Coal when we have naturally sourced cheap energy. India and China has more dams than us because they know the importance, yet we let them have our rivers since we are a bunch of disorganized and incompetent Mughal Azam with no interest in the country.

Muhammad Qadeer Jun 11, 2014 01:33pm

Good News for Pakistan People, i think like this DASU Dam Pakistan needs more mega projects of Water Reserves to improve Living Standards and increase area of jungle & reduce pollution effects

Sheraz Ahmed Khan Jun 11, 2014 03:25pm

It is good for Pakistan, we should also build more Dams to overcome our energy irrigation needs

Hassan Zaeem Aftab Jun 11, 2014 03:32pm

congratulations to all Pakistanis, We must also pay thanks to USA for their kind support.This is real hard work of our ex Chairman WAPDa and Consultants.Our generations will remember for our efforts now This is Sadqaie jaria

Concerned Citizen Jun 11, 2014 05:02pm

Way to go. I hope it is completed within the stipulated time. Another Kudos for GOP

Shuaib Jun 11, 2014 05:08pm

@Faiz That isn't significant. What matters is whether we get out of this economic mess or not.

Random Passerby Jun 11, 2014 05:16pm

@Truth: India and China have more dams than us because they have more rivers and they are many times larger than Pakistan.

Uthmaan Jun 11, 2014 07:36pm

Building dams isn't the answer to all the problems. Dams can produce as much as 20 times the greenhouse gases of a traditional coal power plant.

"The World Bank has been the single biggest funder of big dams around the world since it was set up in the 1940s. One reason the World Bank really likes big dams is that big dams are really expensive. The World Bank has to lend about $20 billion a year. If it can't do that then it makes less profit. In all the country it operates, the World Bank has legal immunity so nobody can take the World Bank to court. So the World Bank finances a project which destroys your livelihood, floods your land and ruins your life, you can't sue the World Bank for that. The World Bank knows how to spend a billion dollars in one place."

(millions of people were displaced by dams in the 20th century, the population size of a large European country)

Patrick McCully Executive Director International Rivers Network

Saqib Rafique Jun 12, 2014 01:04am

Great news for all pakistanis!

Taimur Jun 12, 2014 09:05am

Thanks God. At last we will have another major hydro power project.

Altaf Hussain Rizvi Jun 12, 2014 11:55am

This is good for Pakistan which has already suffered during the last 14 years when no Dam has been constructed in the country. On the other hand India has constructed more than 4,070 Dams when Pakistan governments (Mush and then his NRO-beneficiary Zardari) did not construct any Dam in Pakistan. Hats off to PMLN.

Saqib Jun 16, 2014 12:39am

@Saqib Rafique As uthman mentioned dams produce 20 times the greenhouse gases as the traditional coal powered plants,we need to focus desperately on truly sustainable ways of generating power instead of displacing thousands from their land and causing environmental catastrophe in the process!