The government has recently increased the price of electricity per unit by Rs 3.04 which would put the last straw on the camel’s back. For the already overburdened consumers with high power rates, a further 20 percent increase per unit would be a death knell. The only way to produce dirt cheap power was the hydel rout which has not been pursued with the same vigour as shown for IPPS and RPPs but at an exorbitant cost of imported fuel.
Kalabagh dam was the best option for water and power development being located near the consumer centres while Bhasha dam would involve a 300KM long transmission line to connect it with Tarbela grid. This would involve line losses and transmission cost of infrastructure. If sane advice were to be listened, KBD could be built with a broad consensus of the politicians.
The conflicting statements of rulers and engineers on the duration of Diamir Bhasha dam to be completed baffles the people. Whereas the rulers state that it would take about seven years to complete, the engineers say that with all the roadblocks it might take another fourteen years to complete. This 100 percent difference in the estimates is inconceivable for the people. The hindsight reveals that a second ground breaking for Bhasha dam is being attempted on 18th October 2011 after the first one was made in 2006.
With this snail’s speed of building the dam it is likely to take another decade and half before we reap the benefits of the dam. Kalabagh dam would have required six to seven years to build without any hitches of 135 KM long approach road before the dam is even initiated to build.
DR MUHAMMAD YAQOOB BHATTI