ISLAMABAD - Terming Diamer-Bhasha Dam as the lifeline of the country, Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has said that the project has been cleared by seismic study and proposed the government to establish a public limited company for the early completion of the dam.

The government should establish a public limited company for the early completion of Diamer-Bhasha Dam with the seed money of collected donations under the Chief Justice and PM initiative, said Chairman PEC Jawed Salim Qureshi while talking to media here.

He said that so far Rs 4.693 billion have been collected under the Chief Justice of Pakistan dam funds initiative. However, “We still need to go a long way as over Rs 500 billion are required for completion of the dam portion only while 1900 billion rupees are required for completion of whole project,” he said. The government should establish a public limited company for the early completion of Diamer-Bhasha and float the shares in the market. The shares may be issued on the pattern of Sukkuk Bonds by taking two part tariff from NEPRA.

He proposed to add an amount of two cents in estimated cost of energy to be produced through this dam. These two cents may be distributed to stakeholders in the form of dividends up to 10 years and after that period the normal profit may be given, he said.

PEC is working to organize a conference to discuss the technical aspects, feasibility, role of engineering community, cost effectiveness and options of funds generation for Diamir-Bhasha dam, he added.

Qureshi said that PEC should be providing an opportunity in the construction of Diamir Bhasha dam. Pakistan Engineering Council can help save up Rs 200 billion in the construction of Bhasha dam, he claimed.

Chairman PEC said that the seismic study of Diamer-Bhasha is cleared and it needs early execution. “Here people are talking about only 4500 generation from Diamer-Bhasha, but it’s going to be around 30000MW as the dam is lifeline and just a beginning.” He offered the technical expertise of PEC for preparing the feasibility of Diamer-Bhasha Dam and five million affordable houses as per the agenda of the present government.

Chairman PEC emphasized on representation of professional engineers in policy making as most of the development projects are concerned with engineering. Role of engineering community in policy making is must for technical viable projects that foster economic growth. “How can our country afford to make economic and development policies without the input from the engineering community,” he questioned.

The previous government has never considered our proposals. On October 3, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has given a landmark decision in favour of PEC. The Supreme Court in its decision said that the government should not allow or permit any person to perform professional engineering work as defined in the PEC act, who does not possess accredited engineering qualification from the accredited engineering institution and his name is not registered as a registered engineer or professional engineer under PEC act.

He said that there is only one engineer in grade 21 who is working in the Planning Commission. No other engineer is working on grade 21 in the entire country. The main reason for increasing the cost of projects is the non inclusion of engineers. All the cost estimates of the projects are being made by the non professionals.

About 40 percent non professional people are sitting in the projects. Chairman PEC attributed the increase of circular debt to the posting of non-professional people. An institution like NHA is run by non professional people. The previous government had amended the NHA act and inducted non professional people. In five technical ministries, there is no engineer of grade 20 or 21, he added.

He said that government has generated 11000 MW electricity however due to lack of engineering workforce WAPDA cannot transmit the electricity.