Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said the financing of Diamer-Bhasha Dam is still on the table and the Bank has not walked away from its commitment relating to the funding of the multi-billion dollar project. Werner E Liepach, Country Director ADB claimed while talking to a select group of journalists that ADB is still there for financing the Diamer-Basha Dam, but the pace of the work is not on any fast track as desired by the government of Pakistan.
“Diamer-Basha Dam is no doubt a mega project of Pakistan and this big project requires a lot of money. So, ADB wants other financers including bilateral donors to finance the project as the Bank alone is unable to manage its entire financing,” Liepach added.
Diamer-Basha Dam is a project with an estimated cost of $12 billion and the dam has been designed to generate 4,500 megawatt electricity. The project was to be completed by 2017 but due to some critical financial problems ie, lack of interest by major financers both multilaterals as well as bilateral, the project is now expected to be delayed for another 3-4 years.
Dam will have a height of 272 meters spillway with fourteen (14) gates each 11.5 m x 16.24 m. The gross capacity of the reservoir will be 8,100,000 acre feet (10.0 km3), with a live storage capacity of 6,400,000 acre feet (7.9 km3). Two underground power houses are being proposed, one on each side of the main dam having six (6) turbines on each side with total installed capacity 4500 MW.
Reportedly, the ADB had committed $4.5 billion to $5 billion for construction of the project while the bank had also promised to cooperate with the government in raising the money from international capital markets to collect the entire financing for Diamer-Basha dam. “It is totally wrong to say that the Bank will provide $4.5-5 billion for Dam to Pakistan. We can not alone arrange this much amount for a single project as we are providing financing to some other projects in Pakistan”, Liepach revealed.
“The image of ADB has not been put in positive light in some media reports regarding the financing of Diamer-Basha Dam as we are still having talks with the government on financial grounds,” Liepach added. While replying to a question asked by this scribe, Liepach said, “The Bank is not ready to arrange more than $1-1.5 billion for Dam.”
“We have not asked for any ”No Objection Certificate (NoC) from India for Diamer-Basha Dam. ADB has its own policy and guidelines for the countries who like to obtain the project financing and recipient countries are bound to follow such policy. So as per ADB policy, as the dam is being constructed in Gilgit-Baltistan and India considers that area a disputed territory, therefore, before going for the construction of Dam, it should be made clear that India has ”no objection” at all. We have never demanded of any ”certificate; or any official statement from India in this regard. What we really want is just the satisfaction of both the sides,” Liepach explained.
It is reliably learnt that Pakistan has also been negotiating with multilaterals as well as the bilaterals for financial assistance to construct the dam but the donors are now offering funds for the 4,320-megawatt Dasu hydropower project. While replying to a question that ADB has shown any interest in financing of Dasu hydropower project, Liepach said, “We have not been asked by the government of Pakistan to finance Dasu so far.”