Pakistan advances 4,500-MW Basha, 600-MW Akhori

Pakistan’s water and power minister has directed the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to take steps to advance development of the 4,500-MW Basha and 600-MW Akhori hydroelectric projects.

In a high-level meeting of water and energy officials March 30, Minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi directed WAPDA to complete engineering design and a comparative detailed activity cost estimate of the Diamer-Basha Dam project for submission to the ministry for review.

The officials decided to establish an independent environmental assessment and resettlement unit exclusively for the Basha Dam project on the Indus River. Project executives said progress of the project is on schedule and that most of the infrastructure design activity is progressing satisfactorily.

Basha Dam (also spelled Bhasha) was among five dams President Pervez Musharraf singled out in a 2006 call for an immediate start to construction. Musharraf called for completion of the dams by 2016 to meet growing water shortages.

Jatoi and the other officials discussed one of the other dams on Musharraf’s list, 600-MW Akhori on the Nandna Kas River. Officials said area provinces made observations and recommendations based on the distribution to them of Akhori’s final feasibility report.

The minister directed WAPDA to convene meetings immediately to sort out suggestions, issues, and reservations raised by the provinces so detailed engineering design can begin in the shortest possible time.

WAPDA received expressions of interest through March 7 for planning, detailed design, and tender preparation for Akhori. (HNN 2/22/07) The agency sought consultants to review a 2005 feasibility study of the project and prepare a project planning study report, detailed engineering design and drawings, and tender documents.

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