Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday inaugurated the construction work of the mega hydroelectricity project, Diamer-Basha Dam – which is being billed as “a historic milestone” in the country’s development.
Accompanied by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI Director General Lt. General Faiz Hameed, he visited the reservoir site and got a detailed briefing on the project. Federal Water and Power Minister Faisal Vawda and Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur were also present on the occasion.
Addressing a public gathering at Chilas afterward, the prime minister said this project will turn around the lives of the people of Gilgit Baltistan by creating employment opportunities for them, pledging to focus financial resources on the uplift of underprivileged areas.Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government has enhanced the budget of Gilgit-Baltistan with an aim to provide maximum facilities to the people of the region.
“Unfortunately, we made short-term decisions and built projects keeping in view the vote bank,” he said, pointing out that decisions to install imported fuel-powered plants were made in the 90s, which piled up current account deficit.
PM regretted that fuel was imported to generate electricity, which put pressure on the local currency resulting in its devaluation. “We banked on import fuel instead of generating electricity using rivers,” he added.
“Pakistan has huge potential for hydroelectricity,” he maintained.
China has built 5,000 huge dams while Pakistan has just two as the third biggest, the Basha-Diamer Dam, is being built, Prime Minister Khan said, vowing to build more such dams after completion of this reservoir.
He asked the Gilgit Baltistan chief minister to thrash out SOPs for opening tourism.
Chairman China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Lt. General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa in a tweet said that the start of the construction work of the Diamer Bhasha Dam is a historic milestone.
“Mobilisation for Diamer Bhasha: Historic milestone as PM kicks off mega construction work at Diamer Bhasha Dam today.6.4 MAF Water reservoir,will add 1.2 M acres for agriculture,4500 MW cheaper,greener Hydel power, steel/cement/construction boost,16000 jobs.”