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Bhasha Dam nearer but dearer by Rs10bn

The cost of acquisition of land and compensation of assets for construction of $12.7 billion Diamer-Basha dam has been hiked by almost Rs10 billion. The original estimate of Rs40 billion has been revised to Rs49.886 billion, it is learnt.

This cost has been escalated after the governmentís decision to settle land acquisition for the Diamer Basha dam in accordance with international standards by reaching consensus with displaced people as recommended by the ADB, Chairman Wapda, Shakeel Durrani said in an exclusive talk with The News here on Friday evening.

Total cost for land acquisition as well as for other required infrastructure by ensuring integrated development plan, roads, model villages at sites, social safety nets and for other required plans for construction of the Basha dam, Wapda has been estimated at Rs116.278 billion. In order to undertake due diligence, Asian Development Bankís mission will arrive in Pakistan on May 2, 2012, to validate guidelines for environmental and social safety nets finalized by Wapda.

WAPDA Chairman Durrani told The News that the cost of land acquisition was assessed at Rs26 billion in 2008, which was raised to Rs40 billion after the ADBís advice to settle this issue through negotiations with displaced people. The prime minister had constituted a ministerial committee, which recommended the increase to Rs40 billion.

Durrani said that after construction of the Diamer Basha dam, the power generation of $5 million per day would be achieved, and the cost of land acquisition would be recovered just in 82 days.

Regarding financing for the Basha dam, he said that the estimated cost would be hovering over $12 billion and the ADB would play a lead role in this regard. ìUSA and World Bank has also given indication to provide financing for Bhasha dam,î he added.

He said that Wapda also made request to Japan to shift some of its assistance towards the Basha dam as it is the priority project for them.On the issue of net hydel profit distribution share, he said that this issue would be resolved amicably as two power generation plants, having capacity of 2,250MW would be established on right bank and left bank sites.

When asked how much time was required to make shift in favour of hydel power generation instead of thermal power, he said that Wapda was implementing plan to generate 20,000MW electricity through hydel power generation which would cost a mere Rs1.50 per unit. He said that it would take 10 to 12 years to shift the mix of power generation towards hydel in the range of 60 percent and reducing the share of thermal power to 40 percent by 2025.

The acquisition of land for the Basha dam would cost Rs42 billion, compensation of assets Rs7.882 billion. For putting in place different plans, including monitoring and evaluation plan, relocation management plan, environmental management plan, gender action plan, public consultation, project NGOs, livelihood intervention and others would cost Rs7.476 billion. For different aspects of safety nets, the cost is estimated at Rs3.803 billion. The required infrastructure, such as integrated area development plan, will cost Rs6.971 billion, model villages Rs8.824 billion, right bank periphery road Rs11.863 billion and business restoration plan Rs1.177 billion.

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