Gilgit-Baltistan: Construction of Diamer Basha Dam- Government departments strongly need to improve their business process

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FOR the last many years we have been hearing that the government is planning the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam and actual work on the project would start soon. Even the previous government said work will begin soon after the ground breaking ceremony was performed in April, 2006 by the former President but one feels depressed that progress has not been made to start the actual work.

Though it is encouraging that the Federal government has provided Rs 3.9 billion to Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments to acquire land but the process is taking too much time. No major water reservoir has been undertaken since the completion of Tarbela dam in 1976 and even if physical work starts on Diamer-Bhasha Dam this year, it would take atleast ten years to complete meaning that the country would continue to suffer from shortage of water during winter and from floods during the monsoon season. Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs have already lost more than 5,000,000 acre feet storage capacity due to sedimentation,almost equal to the original combined capacity of Mangla and Chashma reservoirs putting sustainability of existing irrigated agriculture of Pakistan in serious jeopardy.

Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and we have the World’s fastest growing population. Due to lack of large river regulation capability through sizeable storages, the country is already facing serious shortages in food grains. Given the present trend, Pakistan could soon become one of the food deficit countries in the near future. Therefore, there is a dire need to build storages for augmenting agriculture production. The Diamer-Bhasha project would also create lot of job opportunities, particularly for the local and development of massive infrastructure leading to overall socio economic uplift of the area.

In addition the 4500MW of hydropower will provide the required electricity at affordable price. We would therefore urge the Prime Minister to personally supervise the progress on the project and ensure that when the government completes its present term, there is visible progress on the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam as that would be a major contribution of his government to the country and its economy.

Courtesy: Observer

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