Diamer-Bhasha dam: US agrees to extend $3.5 billion, National Assembly body told

January 03, 2013

MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN

Diamer-Bhasha dam
Diamer-Bhasha dam

Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Syed Raghib on Wednesday disclosed that United States of America (USA) had agreed in principle to extend $3.5 billion for 4500 MW multipurpose Diamer-Bhasha dam. Total cost of the project is estimated at $13-14 billion.

Briefing National Assembly”s Standing Committee on Water and Power, he said that Asian Development Bank (ADB) was following the line of World Bank (WB) in designating the Northern Areas as a disputed territory and therefore not meeting the requirements of their assistance. However, he expressed his resolve to complete the project for which contacts with friendly countries had been made.

“We have contacted China, South Korea and Turkey for funding the key project,” he continued. The chairman Wapda further informed the committee that they had completed the studies and feasibilities in the past three years and there was consensus among all the stakeholders. “Finance is the main problem and we are trying to convince the Asian Development Bank and World Bank to provide finance for the project,” he added.

According to him, Wapda has spent Rs 9 billion on the development of infrastructure and compensation to land owners so far. To a question, the chairman Wapda informed the committee that 402MW electricity would be added to the national grid by June 2013. While briefing the committee on the outstanding electricity bills against the government departments relating to Iesco, he added that a total of Rs 15.567,68 billion was still pending against the government departments.

The committee decided that the chairman CDA would be invited in the next meeting to brief it over the outstanding dues of Iesco against the CDA. The committee also discussed the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2012 and deferred discussion for its next meeting in order to enable the members of the committee to study the bill in detail and get fruitful feedback. The committee took serious note of the absence of Minister for Water & Power and Secretary and directed them to attend the next meeting.

The meeting presided over by Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah was attended by MNAs Abdul Ghani Talpur, Sajjad-ul-Hassan, Bilal Yasin, Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla, Salahuddin, Muhammad Afzal Khokhar, Muhammad Nawaz Allai, Rana Afzaal Hussain, Dr Abdul Kadir Khanzada, Anjum Aqeel Khan, Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur, and other officers from the Ministry of Water & Power.

Courtesy: BR

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