Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Basha Dam to cost $8.5 billion

Basha Diamer Dam Project: Setting up of 4 hydropower stations recommended
By Zafar Bhutta ISLAMABAD: Bhasha consultant, the German Company Lemhyer has recommended the government to set up four hydropower stations of 1,150MW under Bhasha Diamer Dam Project for the royalty to North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Northern Areas, sources told Daily Times on Wednesday.The German Company Lemhyer has recently completed the draft of detailed engineering design of Bhasha Dam Project.

The draft has been circulated to concerned departments and ministries. However, the final engineering design would formally be issued by June 30. Bhasha dam is one of the five major reservoirs that President Pervez Musharraf announced in 2005.In the detailed draft engineering design circulated to different concerned departments, sources said, the company has recommended to keep flow rate of water at the level to fill the dam in four years. According to the initial design, it was recommended to fill the dam in two years. The company has also recommended storing 60 percent water in the dam from the water inflows and release 40 percent water from dam to generate power and irrigation, sources said. The official informed that German Company has also recommended to the government to maintain outflow of 35,000 cusecs water from the dam every month. In the draft, the company has asked to keep 1,160-meter height of the dam instead of 1,170 meters height set earlier.

The company has said that this change in height will help to store the water at the time of sudden melting of glaciers.The company will give the presentation to the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) on April 7 on the resettlement action plan in which recommendations have been made to resettle the affected population followed by the construction of Bhasha dam.They said the company in the draft had indicated that 27,000 families would be affected by the construction of the Bhasha dam. The company has recommended setting up nine model villages near Gilgit to accommodate these affected families.

The company has also recommended allotting five Marlas for residence per family and six canals to one family for agriculture purpose. “The company will brief the WAPDA on April 30 about the environmental impact of the dam’s construction and all stakeholders will hold meeting to review the environmental impact of the dam construction in the third week in Gilgat,” sources said. Diamer Bhasha consultants in the detailed engineering design have indicated cost of $8.505 billion at present against the earlier projected cost of $6.5 billion in year 2005.Government had allocated Rs 2 billion for the land acquisition of the Bhasha dam under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2007-08 that has not been released to acquire land, an official added. Government will also generate funds from foreign financial institutions to carry out the project.“We are waiting from the call of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and will provide money whenever NWFP government calls for it, official said adding that the work on the land acquisition of Bhasha dam has not been started so far.Official said that the work on a Karakuram Highway to link Bhasha dam was in progress but no progress on land acquisition has been made because not a single penny had been spent in this regard so far. Karakuram Highway for Bhasha dam project would be upgraded at cost of Rs 11.578 billion to link Karakuram Highway with Bhasha dam, official said.

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