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Diamer-Bhasha dam: government to seek Chinese funding




  • Government has decided to seek funds from China to finance $14.4 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam project. Special Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Himayat Ullah Khan informed the National Assembly”s Standing Committee on Water and Power here on Friday, which directed him to provide complete details as to why the installation of Nandi Pur Power Project was delayed, causing billions of rupee loss to the national kitty. 

    “China may not be able to provide whole of the required funds, however, it can contribute a major portion for Diamer Bhasha dam,” Special Secretary informed the committee, which met here with Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah in the chair. He further said that country would be depending on most expensive thermal power generation owing to decline in hydel power generation in coming month of December as canals would be closed for desilting. 

    “Decline in power generation is mainly because of decline in hydel generation which has come down to 30 percent at present against 70 percent of total energy mix few years back,” he said adding that power generation cost through furnace oil is Rs 17 per unit, hydel Rs 1.5 per unit, gas based generation is Rs 4 per unit. 

    “After December 20, country would be left with no option, but to go for more expensive power generation through furnace oil/diesel,” he said adding that power generation through diesel would cost Rs 22 to Rs 27 per unit to government. He said that power consumers were paying Rs 8.88 per unit whereas Rs 3.50 per unit subsidy was being borne by the government. Member Committee Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali said that 650 MW power was being exported from Punjab to Karachi despite severe power shortfall in the industrial city of Faisalabad. 

    He also raised the issue of long delay in Nandipur Power project which resulted in shortage of power for industrial consumers in Faisalabad. Special Secretary admitted before the committee that long delay has been caused, adding that “right now the matter is pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.” 

    Other Members of the committee including Pir Aslam Bodla and Bilal Yasin demanded to lift ban on collecting power bills in instalments to facilitate the poor who had lost their capacity of paying huge power bills. Special Secretary agreed to consider this and informed that payment in instalment would be allowed in exceptional cases only and current bill would need to be paid within due date. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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