PTI mulling creating Diamer-Bhasha Company to raise funds for dam’s construction

  • Govt to own 52pc shares, 48pc to be owned by masses, overseas Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, in a bid to construct Diamer-Bhasha Dam, is mulling over creating a Diamer-Bhasha Dam Private Limited Company aimed at generating funds for the construction of the dam through extending ownership to the general public and overseas Pakistanis.

Sources disclosed to Pakistan Today that Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government is considering various options to ensure additional collection of funds and a policy in this regard will be introduced soon after getting the consent of all the provinces.

“Pakistanis will find a reduction in monthly utility bills, while overseas Pakistanis will be given a profit in dollars. Consent of all provinces will also be ensured to guarantee the construction of the dam,” said sources.

Sharing details of a proposed plan regarding the formation of Diamer-Bhasha Dam Pvt Ltd Co., sources said that it was proposed to market the shares of this company through Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in which approximately 52 per cent shares of the company will be owned by the government, while the remaining 48 per cent will be owned by the masses.

They said that a campaign to attract overseas Pakistanis to buy the shares of Diamer-Bhasha Dam will be launched to collect amounts for the dam and to balance the remittances of the country, said sources.

Moreover, the government is also considering putting the burden of constructing the dam on the rich instead of the poor. “Imposition of a tax on bridges, barrages and on inter-provincial crossing to collect amount for the dam is also under consideration,” they added.

PTI-government will time and again appeal to the nation to play their role in the construction of the direly needed dam. The government will also approach all political parties to convince them to participate in the drive for the dam construction, said sources.

In wake of Supreme Court’s decision and the government’s resolve for early commencement and timely completion of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), while gearing up its efforts for implementation of the projects, has received pre-qualification bids at WAPDA House from as many as five joint ventures of foreign and local firms through international competitive bidding for construction of main dam and appurtenant structures of Diamer-Basha Dam project.

The pre-qualification bids will be evaluated in accordance with the bid documents and according to the relevant procurement rules of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

Reportedly, the Dams Fund has received a total of Rs3.023 billion till Wednesday. The countrywide contribution to the fund stood at Rs2.876 billion while Rs147.6 million was transferred from abroad, according to an update issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The fund witnessed a boost after the recent speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan who urged the nation to donate generously for the construction of dams. Around Rs906.2 million were received in the fund on September 11, SBP said.

It is pertinent to mention here that Diamer-Bhasha Dam is a multipurpose project aimed at water storage, flood mitigation and power generation. The project will be constructed across River Indus about 40-kilometer downstream of Chillas town. The 272-meter high Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) Dam will have a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre-feet (MAF).

The project will generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity with annual energy generation of more than 18 billion units of low-cost and environment-friendly electricity. With the construction of the dam, the life of Tarbela Dam will enhance by another 35 years. It will also have a positive impact on the annual energy generation of the projects in the downstream areas.

It is estimated that the annual energy generation of the existing hydel power stations including Tarbela, Ghazi Barotha, Jinnah and Chashma will increase by about 2.5 billion per annum, while annual energy generation of the future hydropower projects including Dasu, Pattan and Thakot will also surge by another 7.5 billion units.