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Diamer-Bhasha Dam

The government has expedited work on the Diamer-Bhasa Dam after the prime minister was informed that the mega-project was ready for construction. The prime minister ordered to commence work at the earliest to address the worsening water crisis in the country.
The prime minister said the dam will help meet the increasing agriculture and energy requirements, create jobs and even boost local industries. CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Bajwa, who also serves as the PM’s aide on information, hailed the historic decision and said it will benefit future generations for a long time.
Pakistan faces a severe water crisis which can aggravate in the next few years leading to droughts and food shortages. The region also risks being a flashpoint for future conflicts based on water. The solution lay in the construction of large dams but remained unfulfilled due to a lack of funds and political willpower. The incumbent government has finally pushed forward the project realising the gravity of the situation.
The idea of Diamer-Bhasa Dam was first floated in the 1980s but failed to receive political consensus. It was raised again during Musharraf’s era but faced controversies and lack of funds. The project failed to gain funds from global financial institutions and was also not included among CPEC projects. During this time, the cost escalated exponentially and reached a whopping Rs1.4 trillion.
Former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar set up a special fund to collect money for the project. This reinvigorated the national spirit and people from all walks of life made their contributions. The ex-CJP also made a personal donation of a million rupees while the army contributed a billion rupees. The amount was too large and was never achieved through crowdfunding.
The PTI government has now gained credit for restarting the project. An agreement has been swiftly signed and a contract worth Rs442 billion has been handed over to China Power and FWO. The project is expected to be completed by 2028 and will generate 16,500 jobs and produce 4,500MW electricity. The megaproject neglected for years is now on the path to realization.
It is welcoming that there has been steady progress on the dam which was the need of the hour and will help resolve our water woes. This is necessary for the future stability and security of the country. The government should also invest in smaller water conservation projects.
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