ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday awarded Rs180 billion worth of two contracts to a Chinese firm for carrying out main civil works in the first stage of the Dasu hydropower project.
The two contracts for the main dam, appurtenant structures and hydraulic steel structures (MW-01) worth Rs115 billion and construction of underground power complex, tunnels and hydraulic structures (MW-02) worth Rs64bn were formally awarded to China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC).
The agreements were signed between the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and the CGGC.
Dasu Project Director Javed Akhtar and CGGC representative Tan Bixuan signed the contracts on behalf of the two companies respectively in the presence of Water and Power Minister Khwaja Mohammad Asif.
This stage of the project, to be completed in 2021 under the contract, would generate 2,160MW of electricity. The contractor was selected through international competitive bidding among prequalified Chinese firms.
When complete in 2021, the project is expected to generate over 2,100 megawatts
Terming the contract signing ceremony a historic occasion, Mr Asif said it heralded a new era of cheap electricity generation. He said besides Dasu, the government would lay foundation stones of the Mohamand dam and the Diamer-Bhasha dam during the current year.
Responding to a question, he said the duration of loadshedding had gradually been declining since 2013 and the present government would ensure addition of another 10,400MW capacity by 2018 that would bridge the demand and supply gap that was now less than 5,000MW.
By the year 2018, there would be not only sufficient generation capacity but the entire transmission and distribution system would also be capable of absorbing the additional supply to consumers, he said.
Wapda Chairman retired Lt Gen Syed Muzammil Hussain said the total cost of the first phase of the project was estimated at $4.2bn that would lead to 2,160MW power generation in four to five years. The first phase included construction of the main dam and the first part of the power house with a total of six units.
He said the Dasu project was of critical importance because with more than 4,000MW capacity it would be able to generate more than 21bn electricity units when run to maximum capacity and its generation would be 7-8bn units greater than the current capacity of the Tarbela dam.
Mr Hussain said the second phase of the project would also be capable of generating 2,160MW but this will obviously not take such a long time given the fact that the main dam would already be available and the second stage would involve only setting up a power house at an estimated cost of $2bn.
Mr Asif said the government was working for optimal utilisation of hydropower resources for generating low-cost electricity to eliminate loadshedding and provide relief to people and Dasu was a manifestation of this commitment.
The 4,320MW Dasu hydropower project is being constructed by Wapda on the River Indus upstream of Dasu town in Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The project will be completed in two stages — each stage having a generation capacity of 2,160MW.
The World Bank is partially providing funds for the construction of stage-I of the project, while a major chunk of the finances are being arranged by Wapda from its own resources and with the sovereign guarantee of the government of Pakistan.
Stage-I of Dasu Hydropower Project will be completed in almost five years and contribute more than 12bn units per annum to the national grid. The stage-II, after its completion, will provide another 9bn units to the system every year.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2017