Lahore: In what can be termed as a significant development for implementation of the first stage of Dasu Hydropower Project with generation capacity of 2160 MW, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Monday signed two agreements for relocation of Karakorum Highway (KKH) and construction of Right Bank Access Road in the project area. The construction work on the project would start as soon as possible.
The contracts were signed between WAPDA and China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) here in a ceremony held at WAPDA House today. WAPDA Chairman Zafar Mahmood, Members of the Authority, CCECC Acting President Hao Xizhong, CCECC Assistant President Wang Xiangdong and Dasu Project authorities were present on the occasion. Dasu General Manager and Project Director Haji Muhammad Farooq and CCECC Director General Asia Oceanica Li Shiquan signed the contracts on behalf of their respective organizations.
The contract namely Dasu-KKH-01 worth Rs.14.538 billion relates to relocation of 25-kilometer (Km) long stretch of KKH. The contract is scheduled to be implemented in 546 days. The two-lane relocated stretch will be constructed at a higher attitude with the design standard prescribed for KKH. With construction of this strip, the passage to the mechanical area and access to the dam site will be bypassed so as not to hinder the construction activities on the project. Most importantly, the people will also get hassle-free quality road service.
The second contract namely Dasu-RAR-01, amounting to Rs.2.713 billion, is scheduled to be implemented in one year. This 12-kilometer long road will be constructed on the right bank of the River Indus from Komila to Seo Dam site. At the moment, there is no proper road access except a jeepable track. The construction of the two-lane Access Road will not only enable the project authorities to initiate work on camps and proposed vocational training institutes but also provide thousands of people of adjoining areas with all-weather quality road facility.
The district administration is currently busy in land acquisition for Stage-1 of Dasu Hydropower Project. The project authorities have, however, said that the process of acquiring land is slow, and expressed the apprehension that implementation on two contracts as well as very completion of the Stage-I of Dasu project will suffer a delay if the pace of land acquisition is not accelerated.
The project authorities said that taking notice of slow pace of land acquisition, Khwaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Water and Power, in a letter, requested the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Chief Minister to speed up the land acquisition process. They said that the KPK Governor has also directed the district administration to accelerate the pace of acquiring land for Dasu project.
It is important to mention here that the federal government is implementing the 4320-MW Dasu Hydropower Project in two stages.
World Bank is financing Stage-I of the Project with an IDA Credit of US$ 588.4 Million and an IDA PCG of US$ 460 Million.
Upon completion, the first stage will contribute more than 12 billion units of cheap, affordable and environment-friendly electricity to the national grid.
The project will not only add a sizeable quantum of low-cost electricity to the national grid but also provide relief to the consumers by reducing power tariff. To cap it all, the project will usher in a new era of socio-economic development in the far-flung areas of KPK.