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Bhasha Dam being executed as priority project: Wapda clarifies

A spokesperson of the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has strongly refuted the contention contained in a report published in daily The News on May 31, 2013, regarding construction of Diamer Basha Dam, wherein it has been alleged that the sitting Wapda chairman prefers Dasu Hydropower Project to Daimer Basha Dam.

The spokesperson made it clear that Wapda is executing Diamer Basha Dam as a priority project and Dasu has never been preferred to it.

He said that during the tenure of sitting WapdaChairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, tremendous efforts have been made for acceleration of the pace of work on Diamer Basha Dam Project. So much so that appointment of the consultants for supervision of the main works of the project is in final stage.

The spokesperson said that when it was known through a letter of the secretary general to the president of Pakistan that the World Bank has agreed to provide technical input for the study of Diamer Basha Dam Project, Wapda chairman on May 7, 2013, requested the Ministry of Water and Power to take up the matter with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for further action.

It is also pertinent to mention here that on special initiative of the sitting Wapda chairman, a number of meetings were held with the chief secretary, Gilgit Baltistan to discuss the pace of work on the Diamer Basha Dam Project and resolve the issues relating to the land acquisition.

The spokesperson added that the Diamer Basha Dam is well ahead of Dasu Hydropower Project in terms of execution as Wapda has already brought the Diamer Basha Dam into its implementation/construction stage; whereas, the PC-I of the Dasu Hydropower Project is under preparation. He said that the land execution for Diamer Basha Dam is in progress. Importantly, work on 15 contracts for Wapda offices, colonies, contractors’ camp, road infrastructure in the project area and model villages for affectees etc. is also underway.

Ansar Abbasi adds: The News srtory was based on the official note of the Water and Power Ministry’s adviser on Diamer Basha Dam and former Wapda chairman Shakil Durrani. The adviser’s official note is part of the government record. It would have been appropriate for the Chairman Wapda to settle the issue between them instead of clarifying his position in public.

Here the question arises: Had the Wapda chairman officially responded to the official note (as reported by The News) of his predecessor and presently federal government’s adviser on Basha Dam, Shakil Durrani?

The News stands by its story.

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