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Wapda gives USAID finance plan on Bhasha Dam

11 January, 2013

ISLAMABAD: High-ups of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) in an important meeting with representatives of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Thursday, handed over draft copy of financing plan on much needed Diamer Bhasha Dam, reliable sources have told Our Sources.

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ISLAMABAD: High-ups of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) in an important meeting with representatives of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Thursday, handed over draft copy of financing plan on much needed Diamer Bhasha Dam, reliable sources have told Our Sources.

The US is already assisting Pakistan in various power sector projects such as modernisation of Tarbela and Mangla dams, upgrading the Jamshoro, Guddu, Muzaffargarh thermal plants, providing funding for completion of Gomal Zam Dam and Satpata Dam projects. These energy projects are expected to add 900 megawatts to the national grid by 2013.

Sources privy to development informed TheNation that Wapda officials have handed over the draft copy of proposed financing plan to the USAID in a meeting held here to discuss and review various issues on Diamer Bhasha Dam project including financing, resettlement, land acquisition, social reforms, Interest Dealing Concessions (IDC) and paying off the debt. Initially, representatives of USAID have expressed satisfaction on the plan. Albright, and Melsi Knight etc represented the USAID while Pakistani side was represented by Wapda Chairman Syed Raghib Abbas, Dr Izhar an expert and advisor on Diamer Bhasha Dam and GM Land Acquisition Raheel Siddiqi in the said meeting. A USAID delegation would meet KP Governor on January 15 in this regard, sources added.

During the meeting, Wapda officials have briefed the USAID about Pakistan's financing plan and a perpetual Resettlement Action Plan on Diamer Bhasha Dam. And, a proposed public private partnership plan on the project was also discussed in detail. However, the representatives of USAID in the meeting raised large number of questions about the issues of finances and social sector reforms on the project so far planned by the Wapda officials to materialise the project to meet the energy woes.

During the course of said meeting, Wapda officials while giving briefing on the proposed financing plan told the meeting about under process energy projects including Neelum Jehlum Hydropower project, Terbella extension project etc, which would add electric power in the national grid. The meeting was told that Pakistan would add electric power in the system with each passing year and till 2016-17, 3,550MW of electricity in the power system is likely to be added that would reduce power shortage, making the country able to pay off the loans to be obtained on Diamer Bhasha dam project. More, a likely investment worth $3b by Korea after the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) is expected to run this ten years long multi purpose project.

While giving details about the Resettlement Action Plan on the project, Wapda officials told the representatives of USAID that Wapda had given vocational training, packing trainings and training on livestock in a bid to utilise the local resources especially manpower of the area. Wapda officials also told them that we had prepared a perpetual plan to accommodate the locals.

Diamer-Bhasha Dam is an under-construction roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam on the river Indus situated near a place called “Bhasha” in Gilgit-Baltistan's Diamer, Pakistan. Former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on October 18, 2011 inaugurated the project and declared it a lifeline for Pakistan. Diamer-Bhasha Dam would be the highest RCC dam in the world. Upon completion, Dam would (i) produce 4,500 megawatts of electricity through environmentally clean hydropower generation; (ii) store an extra 8,500,000 acre feet (10.5 km3) of water for Pakistan that would be used for irrigation and drinking; (iii) extend the life of Tarbela Dam located downstream by 35 years; and (iv) control flood damage by the River Indus downstream during high floods. Moreover, the dam will have a height of 272 meters spillway with fourteen (14) gates each 11.5 m x 16.24 m. The gross capacity of the reservoir will be 8,100,000 acres feet, with a live storage of 6,400,000 acre feet, two underground powerhouses, one on each side of the main dam having six turbines on each side with total installed capacity 4500 MW.

The estimated cost of the project, in 2011, was $11.19 billion with an estimated completion time of 12 years that has now increased to $14.billion.

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