Saturday, September 1, 2007

Firms set for Dam projects in Pakistan

Firms being set up for dam projects

KARACHI, Aug 31: Under a new strategy, the government is setting up companies to take up multi-billion rupee dam projects in the country over the next eight to nine years. The capital for the companies will be raised from the local and international capital markets.“A company for the Neelum-Jhelum dam has already been formed,” disclosed Dr Salman Shah, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance, while talking to a team of journalists in the Dawn office on Friday. “Officials are involved in paper work for putting in place the corporate structure of the proposed company,” he said.

The 1,000 megawatt Neelum-Jhelum project is being built on the Jhelum river, and about $2 billion capital for it is expected to be raised in the local capital market and by floating Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) abroad. Another project to be taken up in a similar fashion is the Diamer-Bhasha dam which will generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity and have a reservoir for 7.3 million acre feet of water.The $6.5 billion project is part of ‘President Musharraf’s 2016 water vision’ that envisages construction of five major dams -- Diamer-Bhasha, Akori, Kuram Tangi, Munda and Kalabagh. “We will put the blueprint of each and every project before the federal and provincial governments and try to convince them of the immense economic benefits of the projects,” the adviser said.Dams, he said, were vital for agriculture and industry and for providing employment to the youth.

The government has also invited private sector to build small dams of 50 megawatt capacity at the canal water falls and run of water in the canal network in the four provinces.“We are planning to build two shipyards, one at Port Qasim in Karachi and the other at Gwadar,” he said, adding that the yards would have the capacity to build ships of 600,000 tonnes deadweight, compared to Karachi Shipyard’s capacity of building ships of 26,000 tonnes DWT.

He said the government was exploring the possibility of German or Korean collaboration for the massive shipbuilding yards in Sindh and Balochistan.Pakistan’s geographical location, its close proximity with South Asia, Middle East and East Asia, its 100 million people aged 25 years and less and its mineral and agricultural resources make it one of choicest places for foreign investment in coming years.

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