ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan and China are likely to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 4500 megawatt Diamer-Bhasha dam during the Belt and Road Forum scheduled to be held in China next week, it is learnt reliably here.

Pakistan will submit a list of important projects, of the long term plan, including Diamer-Bhasha Hydro power project in the Belt and Road Forum which will be held from May 14 to 15 in Beijing, official sources told The Nation here on Sunday. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will participate in the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation. Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony and host the round table summit of the leaders.

Beside, PM Nawaz may also announce the incentive package for the investors in the coming BRF, the source said. The discloser was made during the progress review meeting on the projects being implemented under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The meeting, presided over by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, was attended by Chinese officials, different ministries and provincial departments. During the previous progress review meeting, Ahsan asked the expert group on energy to finalise the homework for the inclusion of Diamer-Bhasha dam in CPEC portfolio projects prior to June 2017.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan and China in the sixth meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the CPEC, held in Beijing, decided to make water security a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

For development of hydroelectric projects on the North Indus River, particularly construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam, the JCC constituted a group. The group has both the Pakistani and Chinese experts and they decide the feasibility of the inclusion of projects in the CPEC umbrella project. The Chinese experts along their Pakistani co-experts visited various site on North Indus River last month. The group is looking various aspect of the Bhasha dam project for inclusion in CPEC umbrella.

With a storage capacity of about 8 million-acre feet (MAF) and projected electricity generation of 4,500MW, Diamer-Bhasha to be constructed in Gilgit-Baltistan with an estimated cost of $14 billion. Regarding the security of the CPEC, the minister was briefed and it was informed that SSD has already started operation on the various CPEC related projects.

During the meeting, National Highway officials briefed the participant on progress over Western route and Multan-Sukkur motorway projects. While reviewing the progress on ongoing Gwadar projects, it was informed that four industrial unit will start production in 2018.

The minister said that the public welfare schemes in Gwadar would guarantee a bright future of CPEC. He instructed that projects in different sectors including education, health, water supply professional education and technical skills should be completed according to international standards. Ahsan said that the timely completion of ongoing projects in the energy sector is top priority of the government and it will not tolerate negligence of any kind. He further directed that besides power generation projects, transmission and distribution schemes would be implemented, so that the system can meet future needs.

 

FAWAD YOUSAFZAI