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Pak PM’s adviser opposes Diamer-Bhasha Dam

18 July 2009 7 Comments

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Water Kamal Majidullah on Friday shocked the authorities concerned and development planners when he vehemently opposed the construction of $11.8 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in a meeting of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), The News has learnt.

The meeting was chaired by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali.The regime, since long, has been claiming that work on the dam portion will kick off in the current year, but the adviser placed his own government in an awkward position by coming down heavily on the decision to construct the dam, arguing the country had just water of 106 million acre feet (MAF) and the government should go for the dam only when the country had 142 million acre feet of water.

Kamal also objected to the location of the dam, saying it should be located somewhere else where the land was used for crops cultivation. “We need the dam around where we can improve the water level of the land, but crops cannot be cultivated in the area of the proposed dam.”

He argued the provinces were not being taken on board on the issue. He also opposed the construction of dams, saying for a long time no dams had been constructed in the US and India, too, discouraged it. He advised the government should construct dams along the barrages.

Sindh, in the meeting, also linked the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam with conducting study about the impact of the dams first on River Indus. The low riparian province also took up the proposed price of 13 cents electricity to be generated by Diamer-Bhasha dam and declared the said price was too high. The province referred to the 5.3 cents per unit power tariff of Thar coal power project, which was not approved in the past.

Keeping in view the objections raised by the adviser on water issues and Sindh representatives, the planning commission deputy chairman constituted a committee to look into the water availability and hydel prices issue.

The committee, consisting of PARC chairman, member (water) Wapda, ministry of food & agriculture secretary, member (energy) planning commission and one representative from each province, would submit a report on the availability of water within 2-3 weeks.

The constitution of the committee may jeopardise the initiation of construction of the dam in the current year.When contacted Planning Commission Secretary Ashraf M Hayat said since Diamer-Bhasha dam was a large project, therefore, its every aspect needed to be deliberated in detail. He said the meeting approved the project with consensus, but there were some divergent views and to address them a committee had been constituted. When asked as to whether the adviser on water issues had opposed the dam, he opted to keep mum http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=23321

7 Comments »

  • Diamond Bracelets said:

    lengthy and in depth article but full of useful information

  • Floost said:

    Interesting and informative. But will you write about this one more?

  • babafisa said:

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  • ultrasurf said:

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  • Cornelius said:

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  • Kaiser Hameed Khan said:

    Where are the leaders of this Nation headed to? One government proposes a mega project, the other comes and reverses it.As far as I can remember a detailed feasibility study had been carried out by foreign experts, for which a large sum of money was also paid. Is the Advisor to the Prime Minister wiser than the wisest?OR is it Some vested interest at Play? IPPs. Do we have technical experts to come and discuss the issue at a national forum.

  • Kaiser Hameed Khan said:

    WOW ! oday we hear that the government is to resume the Diamer Bhasha Dam. Is the Government not moving in circles?

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