ISLAMABAD: The construction work of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, one of the largest energy projects in the country, will start next year, government sources said on Monday.
The land acquisition process for the project has been finalised with a cost of Rs 104 billion, according to official sources in the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms.
The project is likely to be part of the second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and would generate 4,500 MW of electricity besides serving as a huge water reservoir for the country.
“The country is expected to face acute shortage of water in the next decade, and so, in order to prevent food shortage, this project will be developed at any cost”, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said in a recently held meeting.
He said that the government assigns the highest priority to Diamer-Bhasha Dam because a serious water crisis is looming in next five to ten years which may be a lot worse than the current electricity crisis.
The foundation stone of Diamer-Bhasha dam, a gravity dam on the River Indus in Gilgit-Baltistan, was laid on October 18, 2011.
Upon completion, Diamer-Bhasha dam would be the highest roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam in the world.
The dam’s site is situated near a place called “Bhasha” in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer District, hence the name.
Diamer-Bhasha Dam would produce 4,500 MW of electricity through environmentally clean hydropower generation; store an extra 8,500,000 acre feet (10.5 km3) of water for the country that would be used for irrigation and drinking; extend the life of Tarbela Dam located downstream by 35 years and control flood damage caused by the River Indus downstream during high floods.
It will have a height of 272 meters spillway with fourteen gates each measuring 11.5 m x 16.24 m.
The gross capacity of the reservoir will be 8,100,000 acre feet (10.0 km3), with a live storage of 6,400,000 acre feet (7.9 km3). Two underground power houses are being proposed, one on each side of the main dam having six turbines on each side with total installed capacity of 4,500 MW.
In January 2006, the government announced the decision to construct five multi-purpose storage dams in the country during the next 10-12 years.
According to the plan, the Diamer-Bhasha dam project was proposed in the first phase.
In November 2008, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council formally approved the project.
Council of Common Interests Pakistan, a constitutional body representing the provinces, also approved the construction of the dam.
The cost of the Diamer-Bhasha dam was estimated at $12.6 billion.
An amount of Rs 27.824 billion is required for the acquisition of land and resettlement of the people to be affected in the wake of the construction of the dam.
Under the proposed project, Rs 10.76 billion will be spent for the acquisition of barren land, trees and nurseries; Rs 1.638 billion will be utilised for properties and infrastructure; Rs 8.8 billion for establishment of nine model villages; Rs 62.119 million for pay and allowances for administrative arrangements and Rs.17.7 million for contingent administrative expenses.
Detailed drawings of the dam were completed by March 2008.
The project is located on Indus River, about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 km downstream of Gilgit and 40 km downstream of Chilas. -- Pakistan Today