ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the World Bank, which had earlier refused to provide funding for the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, arguing it was situated in a disputed area as claimed by India, has now given indications that it is ready to provide financing for some components of the mega project. The Asian Development Bank, however, will continue to be the biggest donor, Wapda Chairman Shakil Durrani told journalist here on Tuesday.
The ADB had set four conditions to fund the project that include: 1) seeking national consensus for the Diamer-Bhasha Dam; ii) assurance in procurement transparency in line with the procurement rules of WB and ADB; iii) No forcible acquisition of land for the project and iv) the resettlement action plan to the satisfaction of the ADB.
Durrani said that the CCI had approved the project with consensus and no federating unit had any objection to the project. Even Gilgit-Baltistan has raised no objection. “We have assured transparency in procurements, which will be in line with the procurement laws of WB and ADB.”
“During the recent Pak-US Strategic Dialogue in Washington, we received some signals from the World Bank’s top management that it was ready to provide finances for some components of the mega project,” he said.
He said with the completion of this project, having live storage capacity of 6.4 MAF and electricity generating capacity of 4,500MW, Pakistan will get the dividends of $1.5 billion per annum in the shape of cheap hydro power and half-a-billion dollars in the shape of water storage that will be used for irrigating more land.
“We have carved out a plan that will be initiated in the next five years to harness hydro generation up to 20,000MW.” He mentioned that the country could get the cheapest 7,000MW of electricity from the Bunji Dam and 4,300MW by constructing the Dasu Dam. Through completion of the Neelum-Jehlum hydropower project, the country will get an additional 969MW and a further 1,100MW by constructing the Kohala hydropower project.
The Bunji Dam will be completed at a cost of $10-11 billion and the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has accorded approval to the feasibility study of the project under which a 3-kilometre tunnel will be excavated to ensure protection to the dam in case of an earthquake.
Coming to the $11.3 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Durrani disclosed: “We have almost completed the four safeguards (terms and conditions) of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank to qualify for its credit line for the mega project.”
He said the ADB had sought the report of resettlement issue that they had prepared. A panel of consultants will examine and fine-tune it. “To this effect, ADB will send its fact-finding mission to examine the report. Prequalification of various contractors and consultants will be made next year.”