LAHORE - Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistian (GB) Syed Mehdi Shah Friday visited Wapda House and held a meeting with Chairman Wapda Zafar Mahmood.
Matters relating to various water and hydropower projects being implemented by Wapda in Gilgit-Baltistan particularly Diamer Bhasha Dam, Satpara Dam, Bunji, Harpo and Basho Hydropower Projects came under discussion during the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that Gilgit-Baltistan was home to enormous water and hydropower potential. He said that harnessing this potential would not only help overcome energy shortages in the country but also go a long way in socio-economic development of Gilgit Baltistan. During the meeting, the Chief Minister underlined the need of working out an arrangement for payment of water use charges to GB government. He said that availability of additional funds worth billions of rupees in this respect would pave the way for uplift of Gilgit Baltistan.
Briefing the Chief Minister about the status of progress of various water and hydropower projects located in GB, the Chairman Wapda said that the process of land acquisition for Diamer Bhasha Dam needed to be finalised as soon as possible. He also told the Chief Minister that funds availability was not the issue. He requested the Chief Minister to play his role for acceleration of process of land acquisition so that the work on the construction of main dam could be initiated at the earliest. He said that the government released Rs. 27 billion for Diamer Bhasha Dam in FY 2013-14 and earmarked another Rs 15 billion in PSDP for FY 2014-15 to complete the land acquisition and resettlement-related infrastructure development. He said that Diamer Bhasha Dam was a vital project of national significance because of its multipurpose nature.
Apprising the Chief Minister about Bunji Hydropowr Project, the Chairman said that the PC-1 of the Project had been submitted to the government for approval. He said that Wapda intended to initiate the process of land acquisition for the project and had also formally requested the GB government in this regard. He said that an officer had been deputed at the project for the purpose. He also assured the Chief Minister that Wapda would continue to extend technical cooperation to the GB government for construction of small hydropower projects.