ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday ordered the immediate commencement of work on the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, saying that a top-most priority of his government was ensuring the water security of the country.
The premier made the remarks while chairing a briefing in the federal capital on the water security strategy of the country and the need for construction of dams to meet agricultural as well energy needs of a rapidly increasing population in Pakistan.
During the briefing, the premier was informed about the progress on all the issues related to the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, including settlement, a detailed road map for mobilisation of financial resources, and other matters.
‘Dams will help meet energy requirements’
“Besides optimum utilisation of the available water resources for agricultural needs, construction of dams in the country will help meet the energy requirements at an affordable rate,” the prime minister told those present at the briefing on the national water security strategy.
The premier also directed the concerned ministries to give priority to local material and expertise during the construction of the dam, as it would create job opportunities for the people of the area and provide a much-needed boost to the construction sector.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Water Resources Muhammad Faisal Wada, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz, and several other high-ranking officials associated with the project.
Construction of dam to create 16,500 jobs
The construction of dam will create 16,500 jobs and consume a huge quantity of cement and steel, which will give a boost to the local industry. The main purpose of the dam is water storage and production of 4,500MW cheap and affordable electricity.
The 6.4 million acres feet (MAF) water storage capacity of the dam will reduce the current water shortage in the country of 12 MAF to 6.1 MAF. It will add 35 years to the life of Tarbela Dam by reducing sedimentation. An area of 1.23 million acres of land will be brought under agriculture.
The forum was informed that an amount of Rs78.5 billion would be spent on the social development of the area around the dam as part of the project. It will also be a major source of flood mitigation and save billions of rupees worth of damages caused by the flood each year.