Public sector development programme: Work on Bhasha, Dasu Dams to start simultaneously

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The federal government on Monday gave clearance for construction of 4,600-megawatt Dasu hydropower project and also decided to be a partner in the four-nation electricity import project.

The decisions were taken in a meeting of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), headed by Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal. The Dasu project is expected to cost $7 billion.

The CDWP also cleared 13 new development schemes in the field of energy costing Rs103 billion.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government would start work on both Dasu and Diamer Bhasha Dams simultaneously. Earlier, he said, the plan was to first complete the Bhasha Dam and then kick off the Dasu project.

The CDWP noted that Diamer Bhasha Dam, a multipurpose project that will produce 4,500MW and irrigate large areas of farmland, took precedence over all other projects in the water sector. Owing to financial crunch, the committee agreed that the government may first build water reservoir of Diamer Bhasha Dam.

This will not only provide water for irrigation but will also make additional water available in off-season for Tarbela and other power houses for generating electricity at a time when water supply slows down.

The CDWP also paved the way for the country to join a much-delayed CASA-1000 project, designed to import 1,000MW of electricity from Tajikistan via Afghanistan.

On its side, Pakistan would bear a cost of only $200 million, said Dar, adding after CDWP’s approval, the cabinet would also clear the project on Wednesday.

The CDWP also approved the PC-II for conducting a feasibility study on the Gadani power project costing Rs100 million. The cost of the study, to be undertaken for construction of an energy park to produce 6,600MW of electricity, will be borne by the federal government.

A company named Pakistan Power Park Management Limited has already been established to arrange funds through a special purpose vehicle to finance projects in Gadani.

Three hydropower projects sponsored by the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were recommended by the CDWP for approval by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec).

These were 150MW Sharmai Hydropower Project costing Rs33 billion, Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) of Shogo-Sin Hydropower Project District Chitral worth Rs27 billion and EPC of Shushgai Hydropower Project District Chitral costing Rs29 billion.

The CDWP can approve projects with cost up to Rs1 billion and clears over Rs1 billion worth of projects for consideration of Ecnec.

Under Punjab’s Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Programme, revised PC-Is for construction of five hydropower stations (run-of-the-river projects) one each at Chianwali, Pakpattan, Deg-out Fall, Marala and Okara together costing Rs12 billion were recommended by the CDWP for approval of Ecnec. Eighty per cent cost of these projects will be met through an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan.

The CDWP also approved two projects of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission – Detailed Exploration of Uranium Resources in Bannu Basin and Kohat Plateau Phase-II and Detailed Exploration of Uranium Resources in Dera Ghazi Khan Phase-VIII costing Rs634 million and Rs726 million respectively.

A revised PC-I of the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority titled “Establishment of National Dosimetry and Protection Level Calibration Laboratory” was also cleared.

Planning Minister Iqbal stated that the government was giving priority to making the country self-sufficient in cheap and affordable energy. If a proactive approach was not adopted for building water reservoirs, the country may face bigger problems in the next 10 years, he said.

Courtesy:   BBC

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