ISLAMABAD – Despite the fact that the cost of Diamer Basha Dam has increased by $2 billion due to delay in start of the project, the federal government has not learnt a lesson and is still looking towards ADB and other international donors, which have already refused to provide funds for the project, to obtain money for the construction of the project.

Sources privy to the situation told TheNation that the people running the Ministry of Water and Power believe that Diamer Basha Dam project could not be started or completed without the availability of foreign loans.

A top level person in WAPDA while talking to this scribe said that it has been suggested many times to the authorities in some informal meetings that the Ministry should focus on generating funds using local resources instead of waiting for loans from international organisations, which, at the moment, don’t have any stake in this very important project for Pakistan.  He said that the Ministry baboos have still locked their minds on foreign loans and it is already too late to start the project.

He explained that Basha Dam’s estimated cost was around $12 billion that was not to be spent within one year. The project was expected to be completed in 10 years so if the cost is divided in 10 equal parts, it is little more than Rs 100 billion per anum and it was not a big task if government would have been sincere to start the project.

Presently nobody is ready to invest $12 billion or a closer figure but there are many that can provide loans of several hundred million dollars and if needed that can be obtained from such financial institutions of governments. China is also one of the parties that can provide some amount, less than a billion dollar though.

It is worth mentioning that the government never could get  a commitment from any international donor institution to fund the project. Asian Development Bank is not ready to fund the project and on the other side World Bank is raising the issue that the dam location is in the controversial area so funding would not be possible without NoC from India.

In the given situation the only wise decision could be to start the project on local resources that could be obtained by floating term finance certificates and also decreasing line losses.