Home > Uncategorized > [NEWS] 4,500 MW Bhasha dam cleared by Ecnec

[NEWS] 4,500 MW Bhasha dam cleared by Ecnec

ISLAMABAD: The 4,500-megawatt Diamer-Bhasha dam project and about two dozen other infrastructure and social sector schemes worth Rs977 billion were approved on Thursday.

The Rs894.25 billion dam project in the Northern Areas, approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), will have a foreign funding component of Rs312.94 billion.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin chaired the meeting. The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira, and the Minister for Water and Power, Pervez Ashraf, told journalists that the construction of the dam on the Indus, some 400kms from Islamabad, would begin by October next year and be completed in eight to 10 years.

Its payback period will be 30 years. They termed it a lifeline project for the country.

‘This is the biggest project ever approved in the history of Pakistan. We spent 33 years in discussions while the country’s biggest dam’s capacity was declining because of sedimentation,’ Mr Ashraf said.

‘We have begun installing major hydropower projects to overcome the energy crisis.’

He said the 272-metre high concrete dam would have a storage capacity of 6.4 million acre-feet and it would irrigate more than 33 million acres. It would also help reduce sedimentation in Tarbela Dam, the minister said.

In reply to a question, he said the bidding process would be transparent. He said the National Highway Authority would start widening roads for transporting equipment and installation work.

The information minister said people to be affected by the project would be compensated before the start of the work.

He said Rs15 billion had been allocated in the budget for land acquisition and payment of compensation.

Mr Kaira, who also holds the portfolio of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas, praised people of the region for their cooperation and sacrifices during the process of approval of the project.

‘Not a single voice was raised from the people of the Northern Areas against this project and I assure them that their genuine demands regarding compensation and settlement will be addressed on a priority basis.’

He said preference would be given to local people for employment in the project. The minister said royalty would be paid in accordance with the Constitution. He said work on land acquisition would begin within three months.

In reply to a question, he said generating funds for the project would not pose a problem because international financial institutions had expressed their interest in financing it. He said all stakeholders had been consulted before the project’s approval.

Referring to surveys by seismologists, he said the dam would be 35kms away from a faultline and it would be ‘99.9 per cent safe’.

He said the committee had also approved the Duber Khwar hydropower project, Khan Khawar project and the 16MW Naltar-III and 14MW Naltar-V projects.

The minister for water and power said a committee had been constituted to resolve out of court the issue of net hydel power profit of the NWFP.

He said the country had 185 billion tons of coal reserves and the World Bank had approved funds for their technical study. He said Rs2.525 billion had been allocated for the feasibility study.

The information minister said Ecnec considered 44 projects worth Rs1,200 billion, but approved 24 of them. The remaining 20 projects, estimated to cost Rs223 billion, will be taken up at the next meeting.

He said the provinces had been asked to expedite implementation of projects.

Ecnec also approved a Rs3.5 billion project for poverty reduction through small holders of livestock and diary and a Rs8.1 billion project in the education sector.

It approved setting up of a 300-bed maternal and child health institute in the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto district at a cost of Rs1.2 billion.

The committee approved a Rs6.3 billion land record management and information system for Punjab and asked other provinces computerise their land records.

The minister said HIV/Aids prevention projects were also approved for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh. Source

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