ISLAMABAD -WAPDA has demanded allocation of funds for building 4500MW Diamir Bhasha Dam as the land acquisition for project has been completed.

The government needs to take high level decision for the funds allocation for the construction of reservoir on Diamir Bhasha Dam, WAPDA chairman said in a meeting on hydel power projects here. The meeting was chaired by the federal minister for planning, development and reforms and was attended by WAPDA chairman and high officials of ministries of planning, development and reforms and water & power.

The planning ministry told WAPDA that currently work on only Dasu dam is in progress while Diamir Bhasha Dam and 800 MW Munda dam is dormant, an official privy to the meeting told The Nation. However, WAPDA chairman Zafar Mahmood rejected the impression and said work on both the projects is on track. “Land acquisition has been completed and now funds are required for the initiation of work on the reservoir,” chairman WAPDA said. According an estimate, about $ 4 billion are required for the reservoir, the official said, adding that the construction of reservoir will help in flood mitigation and will control the water shortage. “Once you complete the reservoir, the companies will come forward for the installment of turbines/power generation,” the official added.

Regarding Munda Dam, chairman WAPDA informed that different studies, undertaken for the dam, are in the last stage and the project is ready for developmental work, the official said.

Meanwhile, a press release issued here stated that the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has directed to formulate an integrated plan on hydro power projects to take up their construction work on fast track basis.

A working group must be immediately constituted to work out this integrated plan in shortest possible time, the minister directed while chairing a high level meeting on hydro power projects, which was attended by WAPDA chairman and high officials of Ministries of Planning, Development and Reforms & Water & Power.

He said that this integrated plan should consider financial implications as well as demand and supply of power to be produced from these power plants.

Minister particularly mentioned Diamar-Bhasha Dam, which is critical for food security and directed to expedite the work for its ground-breaking at the earliest possible time. Ahsan Iqbal said that government is giving top priority to construction of hydro power projects in the country, which is cheap source of energy.

Country needs change in existing energy mix, which is based on oil-fired power plants. The construction of hydro power projects is aimed at changing the energy mix as well as ensuring energy, water and food security in the country.

Minister said food, energy and water security is among seven pillars of Vision-2025 for sustainable economic development and these hydro power projects are part of the efforts to achieve this goal. Minister also directed the concerned authorities to work for arranging the finances for these projects from sources other than PSDP.