Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday lamented lack of long-term planning by the previous governments while performing the groundbreaking of the fifth extension project of the Tarbela Dam.
The World Bank (WB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are providing $390 million and $300 million respectively for the project to be completed by 2024.
The premier said Pakistan was faced with a water shortage owing to its massive population. “We have decided to build 10 dams in the next 10 years,” he said.
He said the Mohmand Dam will be constructed by 2025 while the Bhasha Dam will be finished by 2028.
Prime Minister Imran said “unprecedented wildfires” had occurred in Italy, Turkey and other countries due to climate change.
“We should focus our energies on generating clean power that does not harm the environment,” he said, adding that the government must try to make minimum use of fossil fuel to generate electricity.
He said completing the Dasu and Bhasha dams in time was very important for the country. “It was decided to construct the Bhasha Dam in 1984,” he said. “Why wasn’t the dam ever completed? Didn’t anybody have a vision for the country?”
He said Pakistan was faced with severe problems as no-one in the past had ever made a long-term plan.
Prime Minister Imran said that Pakistan sells electricity at a high cost as it does not use water to generate it.
Earlier, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Lt Gen (R) Muzamil Hussain briefed the prime minister about the project.
The prime minister was informed that the T-5 Hydropower Project will enhance Tarbela Dam’s life by addressing the issue of sedimentation and ensuring sustainable irrigation releases.
He was told that the project will generate another 1,530 MW of low cost and environmental friendly electricity. With the completion of T-5, the installed capacity of Tarbela Dam will increase from 4,888 MW to 6,418 MW.
The prime minister also planted a sapling of pine tree to mark the event.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, federal ministers Umar Ayub Khan, Chaudhry Moonis Ilahi, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, Kbyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mehmood Khan were also present on the occasion.