Prime Minister Imran Khan has kicked off the construction work of the Diamer-Basha Dam. The mega hydroelectricity project is being termed as a “historic milestone” and a game-changer in the country’s development.
Khan was accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and ISI Director General Lt. General Faiz Hameed during the visit of the dam site. He was briefed on how the project will save Pakistan billions of dollars annually in terms of cheap power generation and water reserves.
Water and Power Minister Faisal Vawda and Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur were also present on occasion.
Khan addressed a public gathering at Chilas afterward, promising that the mega project will change the lives of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. The premier said that the government has enhanced GB’s budget in order to facilitate the people of the region.
He lamented the previous governments for making short-term decisions to keep the vote bank intact. Khan said that the decision to install imported power plants was made in the ’90s and that the country is still facing its implications in terms of the current account deficit.
Pakistan has huge potential for hydroelectricity, but we banked on import fuel instead of generating electricity using rivers.
Earlier in a tweet, Chairman CPEC Authority Lt. General (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa said the dam has a capacity of 6.4 million acre-feet will add 1.2 million acre-feet water for agriculture.
Mobilisation for Diamer Bhasha:Historic milestone as PM kicks off mega construction work at Diamer Bhasha Dam today.6.4 MAF Water reservoir,will add 1.2 M acres for agriculture,4500 MW cheaper,greener Hydel power, steel/cement/construction boost,16000 jobs.#pakistanmakingprogress pic.twitter.com/4moytVC2tp
— Asim Saleem Bajwa (@AsimSBajwa) July 15, 2020
He said the mega project will generate 4500 megawatts of cheap and green hydel power. Not only will the project create 16,000 jobs, but it will also give a boost to power, steel, cement, and construction industries, he added.