ISLAMABAD- The government on Thursday approved 51 development schemes with a total cost of Rs 262.4 billion including land acquisition project for multi-billion dollars Diamer Basha Dam.
The Central Development Working Party, chaired by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Salman Faruqi, cleared Diamer Bash Dam land acquisition and resettlement scheme with a cost of Rs 116 billion.
The dam would be built on Indus River and after completion will have an annual 6.4 million acres feet surface water storage capacity, which would supplement irrigation supplies during low flow periods.
It will also harness renewable source of clean and cheap energy through installed capacity of 4500 megawatts and reduce dependence on thermal power, hence, saving foreign exchange. The total estimated cost of the project is over US $ 8 billion and it would pay back its cost in ten years.
A Planning Commission official said 99 per cent land of the mega dam is located in Northern Areas and only one per cent power area would be in North West Frontier Province.
“Today the government has initiated the single largest project of Pakistan in terms of cost”, said the PC spokesman Asif Sheikh in a press conference. The project will be completed without foreign assistance. The funding of the project has remained a major concern, as World Bank has reportedly refused to provide money due to strong Indian lobby on its Board of Directors.