ISLAMABAD - Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Muzammil Hussain Thursday said construction work on both Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams would start in mid of next year and it would require nine and five years respectively for their completion. He said that the authority needed $ 2billion of commercial financing for the completion of the Bhasha Dam as the rest will be financed through PSDP and Wapda's own resources

The total cost of the Bhasha reservoir portion is Rs466 billion and as per their financial modal Rs232 billion will be provided from federal PSDP while the remaining half will be funded through Wapda own resources and commercial financing, he said.

He was talking to media after the first meeting of Implementation Committee of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams (ICDBMD). The Implementation Committee of Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dams (ICDBMD) has been constituted to expedite the construction of two mega dams i.e. Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand.  The meeting was presided over by ICDBMD/Wapda Chairman Muzammil Hussain and  was attended by the Members announced by the Supreme Court in its judgment.

The Wapda chairman said that the meeting was briefed about the framework and draft terms of reference of the Coordination Committee. The committee discussed in detail the ways and means to effectively overseeing the two projects.

He said "Usually it requires one and a half to two years to inaugurate these projects but are trying to expedite the work and inaugurate both the projects by mid 2019.". Both the reservoir and power house portion of Diamer Bhasha will take nine years in completion while Mohmand Dam will be completed in five years, he explained.

He said that they will need $ 2billion of commercial financing for the completion of the Bhasha Dam as the rest will be financed through PSDP and Wapda's own resources.

He said that from 1958 to 1976 Pakistan constructed all the major water reservoirs with old classical modal and there was no cost escalation and no time overrun. Since then no big reservoir was built. The main reason explored during the meeting was the PPRA rule which create hurdles in the prompt execution of the projects.

"In the meeting we have discussed how to cut corners, while maintaining the main PPRA rule, to save time and money for the easy execution of the projects," he said.

He said that there are three main issues in the execution of Diamer Bhasha Dam related to land acquisition, resettlement and border dispute between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan.

The meeting decided to constitute five Sub Committees namely Land Acquisition and Resettlement Committee, Finance Committee, Procurement Committee, Security Committee and Coordination Committee; one each for Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams.

It was also decided that the sub committees will make their presentations on July 20th.

The sub committees will also finalise and submit their reports on July 23rd relating to the issues and the ways to resolve them. Subsequently, the progress report will be submitted to the Supreme Court on July 24th in line with directions of the apex court.

When asked that instead of collecting donations the government should ask the provinces to give Rs 50 billion each from the NFC award, Rs 50 billion share of the federal government and Rs 50 billion cut on defence budget, the chairman replied that currently it was not decided on what financial modal for the financing the both the projects. A committee has been constituted in this regard which will give its recommendation  Regarding the security issue of Diamer project, the chairman said that he is satisfied with the security arrangements as both the chief secretaries of KP and GB were fully prepared to tackle the situation, besides two brigade of Pakistan Army deputed on CPEC security will also assist in security. Replying another query he said that they are not looking ADB financing.

The meeting was attended by Additional Secretary (Budget) Finance Division, Joint Secretary (Water), Ministry of Water Resources, Joint Secretary Prime Minister's Office, ,Chief Secretary Gilgit Baltistan, Senior Member Board of Revenue Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As many as 18 Co-opted Members including Wapda former chairmen Shamsul Mulk and Zafar Mahmood were also among the participants of the meeting.