CDWP approves power plant component of Diamir Bhasha Dam, Chashma Right Bank Canal

ISLAMABAD – The Central Development Working Party has approved power plant component of Diamir Bhasha Dam and much delayed Chashma Right Bank Canal worth Rs 1150 billion.

Due to delay, the cost of the Diamir Basha (Dam Component) has escalated by around 47pc from Rs 480b to Rs 705b, Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal Tuesday announced while addressing a press conference on the CDWP decisions. The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved the power plant component of Diamir Bhasha Dam project costing Rs 900bn and referred it to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for further consideration, Ahsan Iqbal said.

The minister said the PML-N government had started work Diamir Bhasha Dam project and spent Rs 120 billion for acquiring land for the project. Ahsan, however, regretted that the previous government delayed the project due to which the cost of the project increased from original Rs 480 billion to Rs 705 billion. They (the previous government) did not revise the project cost and did not give any financial plan for the additional cost of around Rs 225 billion.

He further informed that the CDWP has also approved Rs 250bn Chashma Right Bank Canal (lift cum gravity), and referred it with recommendation to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for further approval. The project that was lingering on for 30 years would help in irrigating 275,000 acres of lands in the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the minister said. The construction of the Chashma Right Bank Canal (lift cum gravity) was part of the 1991 water accord, Ahsan Iqbal added. The federal government would finance 65pc cost of the project while the rest 35pc funds would be provided by the provincial government, he said. The federal government would try to complete the project as early as possible to bring revolution in the agriculture sector of the KP province, he maintained.

The planning minister further informed that on the direction of the Prime Minister, the Chaman-Quetta-Karachi (N-25) dualizing road project had also been approved. The present government was giving special priority to the Balochistan road projects to improve the socio-economic condition of the local residents. Ahsan Iqbal pointed out that there was a shortage of electricity near the Makran Coastal areas where Pakistan was getting 100 MW of electricity from Iran. This amount of electricity was not sufficient to meet the requirement therefore he had met with the Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan who assured that the agreement for additional 100 MW electricity from Iran would be finalised soon, the minister revealed.

Due to delay, cost of Diamir Bhasha (Dam Component) has escalated by around 47pc from Rs480b to Rs705b

He said he had also directed the concerned authorities to complete the 29 kilometers transmission line on the Pakistan side within three to four months. Similarly the Civil Aviation Authority had also been given the task to complete construction of the New Gwadar International Airport by March 2023. Further, he said the water desalination plant in Gwadar would also be completed by October this year. He informed that the CDWP had also approved the University of Gwadar. To a question, the minister said the coalition government had started talks with the Chinese side to start the long-standing ML-1 railway project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said both sides have agreed to start the project. He hoped that work on the project might start within a year. He informed that in the previous four years, the previous government did not work on the ML-I project therefore the cost of the project had been increased. The Chinese contractors are asking for the cost revision, therefore both Pakistan Railways’ authorities and the Chinese contractors were engaged in reviewing the terms of financing, the minister informed. In reply to another question regarding Norowal Sports Stadium, the minister said that the cost of the project has escalated due to delay and Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination has formed a committee to calculate the losses incurred to delay.”We are planning to complete the project within six months,” he said.

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