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ADB assures funding for Bhasha dam

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank has assured Pakistan of financial and technical assistance for Diamer-Bhasha dam project and said the process for finalising its modalities will be completed on fast-track basis.

Asian Development Bank The assurance was given by Donneth A. Walton, acting country head of the bank, at a meeting here on Saturday.

The meeting, presided over by Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, reviewed the progress made in the project.

The bank’s officials said the ADB was already engaged in supporting all aspects of the important hydropower project.

Highlighting the importance of the project, Mr Ashraf said it would help mitigate the adverse effects of floods and open a new era of prosperity for the people of the area.

He said the dam would generate up to 4,500MW of electricity at cheap rates and would have a water storage capacity of 6.4 million acre-feet. The meeting was informed that Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet had allowed Wapda to raise Rs20 billion for the project.

The minister said the government was also working on other hydropower projects to reduce dependence on thermal power and to generate cheap and clean electricity in order to meet future energy needs of the country.

The meeting was told that Wapda raised Rs8 billion in 2006 and Rs8 billion in 2007 for the project. The government would act as a guarantor for the additional Rs20 billion needed to be raised by Wapda.

Mr Ashraf said Wapda had already begun implementing the project`s resettlement and land acquisition plan.

Wapda Chairman Shakeel Durrani confirmed to Dawn that land was being acquired for the project in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Karakoram Highway was also being upgraded, he added.

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