Diamer-Bhasha Dam: WAPDA requests CAA to start air service at Chilas airstrip


ISLAMABAD: With Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) expediting work on the much delayed Diamer-Bhasha Dam after special interest taken by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, it has requested the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to start air service to Chilas, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) in a bid to facilitate visits and transportation to the dam site.

According to sources, on the request of the WAPDA Chairman General (r) Muzammil, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director general has constituted a high-level board for activation of the Chilas airstrip. The nine-member board, comprising CAA, WAPDA and air force officials on Tuesday reached Chilas to examine the possibilities of air facilities there.

The board members, during their visit, will also be meeting officers concerned of the GB government and visit the airfield.  They will be presenting their report within a week.

The WAPDA chairman wants the activation of the old airstrip to actively start work and handle matters of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam in the remote northern part of the country. It will come in handy to also cater to the needs of construction companies.

According to sources, if the Chilas airfield is activated, it will boost tourism as well and all kinds of aircraft can land there even in bad weather conditions.

According to the letter that the WAPDA chairman has written to the CAA director general, the dam is a mega project of national importance which will play a vital role in boosting of the economy by providing water for irrigation purposes and generating 4,500 MW of cheaper electricity. “The project will also help in socio-economic uplift of GB and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP),” states the letter.