Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Chief Minister Muhammad Khalid Khursheed on Saturday called on the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (Retd). The matters relating to hydro development in the region, particularly Diamer Basha Dam Project and the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) undertaken by WAPDA in the Project area for socio-economic development of the locals were discussed in detail during the meeting.
Appreciating the continued support of Gilgit Baltistan for Diamer Basha Dam, WAPDA Chairman said that the Project is destined to change fortune of the country, that of Gilgit Baltistan in particular. Highlighting various facets of CBMs being implemented by WAPDA with a hefty amount of Rs. 78.5 billion in the Project area, he said that development schemes under the CBMs would not only make available modern facilities of health, education and infrastructure to the local populace but also help alleviate poverty by creating employment opportunities for the locals. The Chairman reiterated that the people hailing from the Project area and Gilgit Baltistan would be given priority for jobs as per the criterion laid down for the purpose.
GB Chief Minister appreciated the measures being taken by WAPDA for resettlement of the affectees of Diamer Basha Dam Project, development of the Project area and well being of the people of the region. Expressing satisfaction over implementation of development schemes under the CBMs, he hoped that the schemes would transform the development landscape of the area and bring a positive change in the life of the people. The Chief Minister assured WAPDA Chairman of the support of GB Government for completion of Diamer Basha Dam Project.
It is worth mentioning that Diamer Basha Dam is a super mega project, being constructed on river Indus, 40 kilometres downstream of Chilas town. The Project is of vital importance for water, food and energy security of Pakistan.
It has a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) to mitigate floods and irrigate about 1.2 million acres of land. The Project has an installed capacity of 4500 megawatt (MW) with annual energy generation of 18.1 billion units of low-cost and environment friendly electricity.