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WB to fund Dasu, Diamir hydro power projects, Senate told

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Published: November 12, 2014 06:04 pm

World bankISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif has said that World Bank will assist Pakistan in the construction of both Dasu and Diamir Dams, leading to better handling of flood and higher power generation.

While speaking during a debate on a motion in the Upper House during second sitting of 108th session of Senate, he conceded to the World Bank’s (WB) pledge to assist Pakistan in both of these projects.

Eleven members including the Minister for Water and Power spoke on this  motion under Rule 218 about `situation arising out of recent floods in the country and the steps taken by the Government to cope with the same’ tabled by an Independent Senator  Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari.

The debate was dominated by PPPP Senators three of whom participated in it followed by ANP Senators (two), and a single member each of MQM, JUI-F, PML and an Independent Senator (mover). The women parliamentarians abstained from commenting on the motion.

Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, while opening the debate, connected the enormous worldwide weather shifts to the climate change phenomenon resulting in the melting of glaciers leading to floods in India, China and Pakistan. He further recommended the establishment of a Climate Change Ministry and related research to safeguard our future generations from the harmful effects of this change. He termed the negligence of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), absence of local government bodies and corruption in flood relief funds as some of the factors for poor relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.

As Chairman Standing Committee on Water and Power, Senator Zahid Khan (ANP) stressed upon the need to construct new water reservoirs, especially the Manda Dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, not only to absorb the rising water levels that cause floods but also for higher power generation to meet the energy shortfall in the country. His party fellow Senator Ilyas Bilour admonished the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif of not having designed an effective plan to mitigate the floods issue despite serving his second successive term in Punjab where the floods have been most catastrophic.

Rampant deforestation, delay in construction of Kalabagh Dam, Lack of dams/limited capacity of existing water reservoirs, and government policies lacking foresight  were quoted as reasons at the core of the issue at hand by the PML-N Senator Hamza. Senator Farhatullah Baber took strong exception to Senator Hamza’s suggestion of constructing the disputed Kalabagh Dam by compromising the solidarity of the federation as three provinces have already adopted unanimous resolutions against the said project.

Speaking on behalf of the government, the Water and Power Minister refuted the idea of construction of Kalabagh Dam without forming national consensus. He further explained that the record rain fall in September led to the flood’s devastation and weather department had not forewarned of higher rainfall a month earlier.

The minister also notified that the World Bank will fund 60-65% of the Dasu Hydro project and has promised international fund raising for the Diamir Bhasa dam which will be completed in three phases involving land acquisition and two phases of civil works and power house. He further stated that the construction of Diamir Dam will enable the downstream Dasu Dam to increase its energy generation from 2200 MW to 44300 Watts.

Posted by on November 12, 2014. Filed under Motions under rule 218,Motions under rule 218 Senate,Senate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry