JUL 5, 2018 (BE2C2): Complying with the Supreme Court order to go ahead with building two new dams on war-footing while promising to raise funds for it even by asking the nation and Pakistanis abroad to donate for their construction, the Water and Power Development Agency (WAPDA) has advertised in international newspapers asking international contractors of repute to submit prequalification documents.
The top court on Wednesday said, “The need for water reservoirs is not only expedient but also essential for the survival of the people and economy of Pakistan. All those present in the court, including officials of various departments and experts on the subject, are unanimous in this regard. They are also unanimous on the point that according to the decision of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) the Diamer-Bhasha dam and pursuant to the approval of the ECNEC both (this and) and Mohmand dam must be built on an urgent basis by the federal government.”
“There is no dispute or discord of any nature among the provinces”, the four-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, stated in its order.
The dam has faced several setbacks because major sponsors including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank refused to finance the project.
He also donated Rs1 million in this regard. According to him, the director-general of FIA was working on repatriating funds amounting to Rs900 billion (US$7.5 billion) to the country.
According to the advert which appeared in July 2 in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the last date for submission of documents by interested contractors seeking to qualify for bidding on the dam is August 15,
The bidding for the much-delayed roller-compacted concrete dam in Gilgit-Baltistan shall be invited only from the prequalified contractors through International Competitive Bidding (ICB) process, says the published ad.
It is expected that the invitation for competitive bids will be done in November.
The dam is located on Indus river about 315 kilometers upstream of Tarbela dam and 165 km downstream of Gilgit and 40 km of Chilas and on completion will be the highest earth-filled dam in the world, and is scheduled to be completed in ten years.
According to reports the Diamer-Bhasha dam is expected to provide 6.4 million acres feet (MAF) live storage capacity with installed power generation capacity of 4500 megawatt of cheap and clean energy.
After completion, the project will hopefully increase national water storage capacity of Pakistan from 38 days to 45 days and will also enhance life span on downstream reservoirs including the Tarbela Dam.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in its meeting in April in Islamabad under chairmanship of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas had approved the Diamer Basha Dam project (only dam component) at a total rationalized cost of Rs 474000 million (US$4.0 billion @ US$1 = PKR120). The total estimated cost of the dam is $11 billion.