Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Muzammil Hussain has said that construction work on Diamer-Bhasha dam is progressing despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected the whole world.

His comments came during a visit to the Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu Hydropower Project sites to review construction work on the two mega schemes.

During the visit to Diamer-Bhasha dam, which is being constructed on Indus River downstream of Chilas town in Gilgit-Baltistan, the chairman was briefed that construction work on eight different sites in the project area was underway.

The construction sites included access tunnel, access roads, upstream and downstream cable bridges.

The Wapda chief was also apprised that construction work on 21-megawatt Tangir Hydropower Project, meant for providing electricity during the construction phase of Diamer-Bhasha dam, had also commenced. Hussain emphasised that project authorities must ensure that they achieve major construction milestones in accordance with the timelines set for the purpose.

The chairman also opened the newly constructed cableway bridge across Indus River. The remaining three such bridges are scheduled to be completed in April and May one after the other for swift mobilisation on both banks of the river during the high flow season.

Pontoon bridge across the Indus River had already been completed ahead of schedule in December last year to facilitate the mobilisation of machinery and workforce during the current low flow season.

Diamer-Bhasha dam will have gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) that can irrigate 1.23 million acres of additional land. With installed power generation capacity of 4,500MW, the project will provide more than 18 billion units to the national grid per annum.

Earlier, the Wapda chairman also reviewed construction activities for Dasu Hydropower Project stage-I, being built across Indus River upstream of Dasu town in Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

During a briefing about progress on the project, the chairman was apprised that construction work on nine different sites was in progress.

It was briefed that river diversion works were expected to be completed by the end of this year. Afterwards, the Indus River will pass through the two diversion tunnels, paving the way for construction of the main dam. The chairman examined construction work on the diversion tunnels and the power house.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2021.

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