THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, LAHORE, 03rd OCTOBER 2013: In a significant development, three internationally renowned consortia have submitted proposals to the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for providing consultancy services for main works on the Diamer Bhasha dam and power project.
The pre-qualified consortia, Aecom of the United States, Mott MacDonald Limited of the United Kingdom and Lahmeyer of Germany have expressed interest in supervising construction and contract administration, says a press release issued by Wapda.
The submission of proposals marks a step forward in construction of the project, to which the government has accorded top priority.
The government is taking steps to speed up work on Diamer Bhasha Dam in an attempt to tap hydropower resources for producing cheap electricity and supporting the agro-based economy.
Keeping in view the significance of water storage, flood control and electricity generation, the government is constructing Diamer Bhasha Dam and has earmarked Rs25 billion for the project in the current fiscal year.
It has also accelerated the process to start work on the main project and is in contact with friendly countries and international financial institutions, asking them to provide finances for the multi-billion-dollar project.
Diamer Bhasha is a multi-purpose project aimed at storing water for agriculture, controlling floods and generating low-cost hydroelectric power. The dam will store 8.1 million acre feet of water and produce 4,500 megawatts, contributing about 20 billion units of low-cost electricity to the national grid annually.
Land acquisition, infrastructure development in project area and implementation of a social action plan are going on simultaneously. Governments of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are assisting in land acquisition.
Work on 13 contracts for construction of Wapda offices, housing colonies, contractor camps, roads and other infrastructure in the project area is progressing satisfactorily, Wapda says.
Special emphasis has been laid on resettlement of displaced people, prepared in line with international safeguard policies and guidelines. This plan includes construction of model villages for the displaced and other steps ensuring socio-economic development of the local populace.
Apart from all these, special arrangements are being made to preserve pre-historic rock carvings and the cultural heritage with the help of international experts.