WAPDA to award Diamer-Bhasha Dam contract this month

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–‘The project is divided into six major components, for which separate contracts will be awarded in a phased manner’

–‘The dam part of the project is expected to be completed by Sept 2027, while the overall completion is expected in March 2028’

ISLAMABAD: The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has finally decided to award the contract for the much-delayed Diamer-Bhasha Dam this month.

During a recent meeting at the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, WAPDA officials stated that all technical issues related to the award of the contract have been resolved and that the entire process would be completed within the next couple of weeks.

Although the government is yet to arrange the financing for this mega project, it has decided to at least commence work on the main dam project through available resources, while leaving the power generation part of the project to be considered later.

During the meeting, Planning Minister Asad Umar had directed WAPDA to ensure progress on the project as per the set timelines.

The minister was informed that work on already Diamer-Bhasha Dam Project was underway and a cost Rs99.238 billion has been incurred on the project till February 2020, including Rs93.9 billion for land acquisition.

It was further informed that WAPDA intends to award the contract for the “main dam & allied structures” within the next couple weeks to start the construction activities within the current financial year.

Further expenditure of around Rs61 billion was planned during the current financial year, including Rs22 billion on resettlement and Rs39 billion on construction-related activities.

The project is divided into six major components, for which separate contracts will be awarded in a phased manner.

The dam part of the project is expected to be completed by Sept 2027, while the overall completion is expected in March 2028.

The meeting was further informed that Prime Minister-Supreme Court Dam Fund has an amount of Rs12.17 billion available with it, which was currently invested in MTBs.

In a tweet on Thursday, the minister claimed that the dam fund which was kept under the supervision of the superior court may be used for construction work of the dam.

“Government will be requesting the court to use this money as part of the expenditure to construct the dam,” he said.

Earlier in January 2020, in a surprising development, WAPDA had sought Rs170.756 billion, through another revised PC-I, for the acquisition of land/resettlement of Diamer-Bhasha Dam Project. The cost of 2nd revised PC-I of the project, which was submitted by WAPDA to MoPD&R, was 68pc higher than the 1st revised PC-I of the Acquisition of Land & Resettlement (AL&R), as the total cost of the project was estimated at Rs101.3 billion in 2015.

According to sources, the Planning Commission, while showing its displeasure over the surge in the resettlement cost, had asked WAPDA to explain the reasons for incurring such heavy costs to national exchequer due to time and cost overrun. As per the Planning Commission, there should also be a comprehensive investigation by the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission to probe into WAPDA’s proven inefficiencies in the aforementioned project.

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