Mega hydropower projects on hold

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IT is a matter of extreme concern that work on almost all mega hydropower projects stands suspended with serious consequences for their timely completion and a huge escalation in cost.

This shocking revelation was made by the Ministry of Water Resources during a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources where the Secretary of the Ministry said that civil work on hydropower projects has stalled since the attack on Chinese engineers working on Dasu dam in July this year.

Pakistan is already guilty of criminal negligence in respect of exploitation of hydro-power resources with accompanying complications for the cherished objectives of achieving food security and ensuring sustainable supply of power for the economy at affordable rates.

The country is in a position to produce cheaper electricity and bring more areas under cultivation but no worthwhile progress was made on construction of major reservoirs despite repeated announcements and pledges.

The PTI Government made a difference by initiating practical work on Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha projects despite various odds but regrettably the enemy seems to have succeeded in its designs to cause harm to these projects.

It was widely believed that the attack on Chinese engineers working on Dasu hydropower project was aimed at delaying its construction and inability of the authorities concerned to ensure continuation of the work is a serious setback to the project.

The attack took place over three months back but strangely enough we could not assuage fears and reservations of Chinese on the security issue despite the fact that special arrangements are in place for security of CPEC-related projects.

It is beyond comprehension that a country that won the unconventional war against terror is unable to satisfy the Chinese on the security of one project, which should not be a big issue given the rich experience of our relevant institutions.

The country cannot afford suspension of work on vital economic projects and, therefore, the Prime Minister should himself look into the issue on a priority basis.

 

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