DevelopmentGilgit - BaltistanPakistan

[Opinion]Diamir – Bhasha Dam: symbol of economic development

by Ahmad Khan

The Diamer Basha dam is situated on the river Indus about 315km upstream from Terbela dam, 165km down stream from Gilgit city and 40km down stream from Chilas. The proposed dam would have reservoir of about 7500,000 acre feet which will impound 15% of the annual flow of river Indus, with a gross water capacity of 1.8 million acre feet. This dam project would cover an area of 110 km^2. The total cost for the construction is $US12.6 billion.

The economic significance of the project would be analyzed by its direct and indirect effects on the economic activities of the region and the country. Pakistan has been trying to maintain its position as an agricultural country among the competitive economies,  and for this, it  needs proper irrigation system and adequate water supply to enhance the agricultural productivity. As agriculture plays vital role in the economic uplift of the country. Our agricultural productions need to be increase as it is the demand of fast growing population. The agricultural sector contributes about 25% to GDP and provides 50% employment to the total labour force. From among the newly estimated population of 172,800,000 only 32.34% is urban and rest of 67.66% population resides in rural areas where the livelihood of the people is associated with agriculture. On the other hand we earn 60% of total value of exports from exporting agricultural products. Thus carrying out the project would be favorable for the country to step forward in agricultural sector and to get recovery from economic recession prevailing in the country particularly.

In the present scenario the unemployment rate reached at 7.4% plus substantial underemployment while the inflation is over 15.3%. With reference to current unemployment it needs to be reduce by expanding different sector of socio-economy.

Thus, working on Diamer Basha dam will provide sufficient employment to the local people and it will create massive infrastructure leading to overall socio-economic uplift of the area and the standard of living of the people. It is evident from researches that other than market forces increase the price of energy has boosted inflation on the globe. China a faster growing economy is dominating the world market with its products even in Pakistan at relative low prices because of availability of electricity in abundant as it utilizes its natural resources. Though we have enough resources of water to produce thermal energy, the thing is to make investment. In this regard Diamer Basha dam has the capacity to generate 4500mw electricity as a positive externality.Though gas has been the dominant source of energy for Pakistan. It accounted for 47.5%of primary energy demand of 2007, where oil accounted by 30.7%, hyro electric energy at 12.9% and coal with a 7.9% share of PED. We have margin to increase the share of hydro electric in PED at a comparative advantage. A country’s progress with stability is measured by economic growth with other factors, where energy is the vital element in economic growth in this technically advance world. The front line economies are paying attentions to generate domestic renewable energy and to lessen their reliance on foreign oil as mentioned by Obama in his inaugural speech.

The renewable energy scheme like (hydro-power) is a healthier production of energy without any environmental hazard. In the generation of hydro power we have enough resources of water in form of rivers and the glacier. Thus government must initiate such project to generate hydro power energy as per demand in the country exist, and Diamer Basha dam must be the start of such mega projects.the government must ensure that the rolyaty of this dam goes to the people of Northern Areas.

Ahmad Khan is a student of Government College Lahore. He belongs to Ishkoman valley.

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  1. Hi everyone on PT.

    I have been in touch with th PT since its launch but never comented???? Why? because I am reluctant…..for many reasons??????particularly of a multi-dimensional awareness.??????????????????

    I apreciate this guy for understanding the basic requirements/principals of developement alongwith other socio-economic challenges that lie ahead of us all.

    Yar Khan Karim

  2. I fully endorse the views of the writer that Energy is perhaps the biggest constraint on the economic transformation of the Northern Areas, impeding development in almost all the sectors of the economy and much needed socio-economic progress. The most readily available opportunity for investment is in the hydropower sector.Water management aspect is vital for the rest of the country which can be achieved only if all the potential sites are utilized for storage during the maximum flow season.Maximum water flows (99 million Acre feet) are available for three months in a Year (Jun, Jul, Aug) – when the plains get monsoon rains – which can be managed for remaining nine months to benefit the agricultural needs of Pakistan.

    7.1 Potential
    Nature has gifted the area with natural rivers and streams which can be used for generating electricity which plays the key role in the development of any area. As per the studies, the total potential of hydropower in northern areas is about 60,000 MW. On straight river Indus (excluding the tributaries), the total potential of generating hydroelectricity has been estimated as 40,000 MW. Of this, about 20,000 MW can be exploited in an economical manner. The total requirement of Pakistan is about 22000 MW and presently, one third of the life of an average Pakistani is being spent without electricity. By exploiting this huge potential, it will not only be possible to meet all the requirements of electricity for Pakistan, but the surplus electricity may be exported to China (which is presently an energy deficient area). Hydropower has the added benefit that this is renewable energy; unlike thermal energy.

    7.1.1 Potential Areas for Hydropower Generation River Gilgit and its tributaries in Gilgit and Ghizer valleys River Hunza and its tributaries in Gilgit Hunza/Nagar valley Small tributaries of Indus river in Roundu valley Shiyoke River and its Tributaries In Khaplu valley Tributaries of Shigar river in Shigar Valley River Astore and its tributaries in Astore valley Small tributaries of river Indus in Diamer district
    7.2 Current Status
    Presently, 70% of the total population of northern areas has access to electricity. Average electricity consumption per household is 0.5 KW in rural areas and 1 KW in urban areas. The present power demand of northern areas is 150 MW. It is estimated that the power requirements of northern areas will be around 200 MW by year 2010 and 300 MW by year 2015. Government has developed many small hydropower projects in northern areas. The most recent and the biggest project is this regard is Naltar Power Project which has a capacity of 18 MW (during the three month period only). The project has been completed with Chinese collaboration, with 85% investment done by the Chinese. The balance 15% has been contributed by Government of Pakistan. The project was started in the year 2006 and completed at the end of year 2007.

    There are total 87 hydropower projects in northern areas that have been established by the government. The size of these projects range from 200 KW to 4 MW. Two major power projects have been approved and work has been started on those. One is Diamer Bhasha dam with a capacity of 4500 MW and the other is Bunji dam with a capacity of 5400 MW. The project is being managed by WAPDA. Presently, a consultant is conducting study for the project. The project is expected to be completed by the year 2020.Another project of 80MW has been proposed for Ghazer District and a PC-I initiated for the same.

    Note: This is part of the written assessment shared with the National Assembly committee on water and power and also on a number of occasions with the highest figures in the country..

  3. In my view, the royalty aspects can be ensured only through legislation. Please recall my appeal on your blog seeking help from all readers to help evolve a draft law on “Harmonization of Customary Laws in Gilgit and Baltistan” (on the basis of United Nations declaration on rights of indigenous people Adopted on 29 June 2006 during the inaugural session of the Human Rights Council, Agenda 21: Chapter 26):

    I would request the readers once again to contribute in this attempt.

  4. Dear Ahmad
    Very well descriptive statistical information. How the Diamer Dam will contribute to the country and how much power full the country will be through hydro-energy.
    Dear Ahmed and other commentators, I’m not any economist or scientist but what I feel regarding the North were I have been rooted by the sublime nature, power less of voice,. The past history has been cruel in many aspects, political, social and from the humanistic point. North is nature, It is the only part of the country were people have never disturbed the life around them but have become part of the life adopted every aspect and challenges. It has been part of the culture, social and religious teaching of the communities. But it was disturbed with the introduction of improper use of land and mapping introduced in 70’s with the KKH. With KKH alien culture and social aspect started to come in the area destroying the wild and free life, resulting extermination of wild life, change in the moral practices of the area, introduction of new social, moral and cultural values. Many human lives were lost.
    Such loss for economic benefits, which I never saw, around, but more agony and depression spreading around. Was or is it right call.
    Coming back to the set point, of Diamer, which will be destroyed but the country will get hydro-power, good for the economy. How ?
    Through resettlement, Where? Put into new place to start over? How much time, …….. Can any one compensate all these losses; statistic can never define the social loss.
    Im do not have ay proper knowledge about the study of climate and its effect. But have read few writing on the effect in north with the introduction of Dams. Has any one thought of the before going to the benefit of the country just hydro-power. Is this fare.
    For how lone will we blind our voice and shout our thoughts for the reality and future challenges, and effect of our lives.
    Give water, hydro-power, and will get benefit, BY what means.
    China and Pakistan are planning to introduce, futuristic motor way thought North, approximately 50 feet wide, with rail road 20 feet, and a pipe line 20 to 30 feet. Next how much land will be there left to the people for benefit and development. What about nature wildlife, the only true source of income to most of the people of north.
    Can enlighten people predict any aspect of the communities how will their lives will be. Will they then still be in North to see the promised glory?

  5. Dear Ahmad
    looking at the present crises of electricity in pakistan this particular project has special significence.As i look into the stakeholders of this project it is clear that the immediate beneficieries are other areas of pakistan interms of water and power.
    we are a part of this area and ultimately it will bennefit us as well.but we as a forword looking nation should look at the benefits which will come indirectly and those which we can ahieve.the power aspect and royaly will benefit us but lets channelize these millions of royalty into some to some useful avenues such as education and health.
    this dam when built will altimately attract tourism and we should be ready to avail these opportuniteswhich come along with it.lets see what busines we can relate to the building and afterwards to the tourists of this area.fisheries ,boating hotels,camping sites are a part of this business of which we should be aware now.
    thus only saying that this dam will bring prosperity or jobs is not ok ,lets prepare ourselves for it struggle hard to capture the benefits .
    sher khan Rawalpindi

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