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Govt acquires 86 percent land for Diamer-Bhasha dam

ISLAMABAD: The government has acquired around 32,139 acres of land, out of total 37,419 acres of land required for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam.

According to sources, almost 86 percent of land for the mega project has been acquired so far while construction work on the resettlement of the model village at Harpan Das is in progress.

Similarly, the construction of a projected colony at Thor is underway with 85 percent work already complete. Construction of Right Bank Periphery Road (RBPR) is also underway.

Contracts for RBPR-01 and 02 have been awarded and so far, 86.50 percent and 40 percent work has been completed in this regard. The procurement of contractors for RBPR-03 and 04 is in progress.

It is worth mentioning here that the Diamer-Bhasha dam will facilitate agricultural growth, mitigate floods and produce low-cost hydel electricity in the country. The project has three core objectives – water storage for agriculture, flood mitigation and hydel power generation.

The dam will have a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre-feet (MAF) to irrigate 1.23 million acres of additional land.

The project with an installed power generation capacity of 4,500 megawatts (MW) will provide more than 18 billion units per annum to the national grid.

Construction of this dam will also have a positive impact on the annual energy generation of the existing hydel power stations including Tarbela, Ghazi Brotha, etc. that will increase by another 2.5 billion units.

In view of its benefits, Diamer Basha Dam Project will go a long way towards stabilizing the economy. The commencement of Diamer-Bhasha Dam has proved a good omen for the locals, as Rs78.5 billion is being spent on various schemes as confidence-building steps (CBMs) in the project area.

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 a 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.

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