Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday performed the groundbreaking of the fifth extension project of the Tarbela Dam, lamenting lack of long-term planning by the previous governments.
The World Bank (WB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are providing $390mn and $300mn, respectively, for the project to be completed by 2024.
Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Lt. Gen. (R) Muzamil Hussain briefed the prime minister in detail about the project.
The prime minister was informed that the T-5 Hydropower Project will enhance Tarbela Dam’s life by addressing the issue of sedimentation and ensuring sustainable irrigation releases.
The prime minister was told that the project will generate another 1,530 MW of low cost and environmental friendly electricity. With the completion of T-5, the installed capacity of Tarbela Dam will increase from 4,888 MW to 6,418 MW.
The prime minister also planted a sapling of pine tree to mark the event.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Imran Khan said “unprecedented wildfires” had occurred in Italy, Turkey and other countries due to climate change.
“We should focus our energies on generating clean power that does not harm the environment,” he said, adding that the government must try to make use of minimum fuel to generate electricity.
PM Khan said completing the Dasu and Bhasha dams on time was very important for the country. “It was decided to construct the Bhasha Dam in 1984,” he said. “Why wasn’t the Bhasha Dam ever completed? Didn’t anybody have a vision for the country?”
He said the country was faced with severe problems as Pakistan had never indulged in long-term planning. PM Khan said that Pakistan sells electricity at a high cost as it does not use water to generate it.
The premier said Pakistan was faced with a water shortage owing to its massive population. “We have decided to build 10 dams in the next 10 years,” said the prime minister.
PM Khan said the Mohmand Dam will be constructed by 2025 while the Bhasha Dam will be finished by 2028.
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Federal Ministers Umar Ayub Khan, Ch. Moonis Ilahi, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib. Governor Kbyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mehmood Khan were also present on the occasion.