The federal government has released an initial sum of Rs 700 million to acquire land for the Diamer Bhasha Dam, said in a statement issued after a meeting between Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah and WAPDA Chairman Shakil Durrani.
According to the statement, WAPDA has handed over the money to deputy commissioner Diamer for land acquisition.
“ Development of water and hydropower potential in Gilgit Baltistan through projects like Diamer Bhasha Dam would not only play a vital role in strengthening the national economy but also pave way for socioeconomic uplift of the area,” said Syed Mehdi Shah, Chief Minister of GB, according to the statement.
WAPDA chairman, Shakil Durrani said “It would be the largest project in the country’s history. It would store 8.1 million-acre feet (MAF) of water and generate 4,500MW of low-cost electricity”. In addition to providing water for agriculture, the project will also contribute 18 billion units of electricity per annum to the national grid, he added.
Besides Diamer Basha, Satpara, Bunji, Dasu, Shyok and other water and hydropower projects, located in Gilgit-Baltistan, were also discussed in the meeting. Shah assured his government’s support and cooperation to WAPDA in execution of these projects. Durrani presented Rs 0.5 million cheque to the GB chief minister to help flood victims in Chilas. In the second leg of his two-day tour, Durrani also visited Bunji hydropower project as well as Shyok and Satpara dams. Senior USAID officials accompanied him during the visit. Officials briefed him of the progress made on the projects. He was told that the feasibility study of the 7,100MW Bunji hydropower project had been completed.