Diamer-Basha Dam project brings power, better life to Pakistan

Qaswar Abbas

ISLAMABAD, July 24 (China Economic Net) – Life of Fawad Shah, a Pakistani civil engineer, was suddenly changed last month after he received a call for a job interview from China Power International Development Limited also known as just China Power, a Chinese electric power company that is working in Pakistan on several projects including Diamer Bhasha Dam.

“Although I was desperately in need of job, but I was not excited even after receiving the call because I didn’t have any reference or backing to get a job there. But I walked into interview considering that Chinese company would definitely select employees on merit,” Fawad, 31 years old, told China Economic Net.

Two weeks after the interview, Fawad was employed as an assistant civil engineer at the construction site of Diamer Bhasha Dam.

“It was a pleasant surprise for me to get the job. I remained jobless for seven months. You can’t imagine how happy and joyful I was after receiving the appointment letter,” said Fawad.

Fawad, a civil engineer, looked calm and content with happiness showing from his face as he spoke to this correspondent on third day of his new job.

Before joining Power China, Fawad used to work as an assistant civil engineer at a local construction firm in Lahore. Unfortunately, he was one of the several civil engineers who lost jobs seven months ago as the company, they were working in, was caught in heavy debt and had to cut several jobs.

Shah remained jobless for seven months, until he was employed by Power China which has joined hands with Pakistan’s Frontier Works Organization, to construct Diamer Bhasha dam in Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region.

“Believe me, it has brought my life to stability. Now I am very happy and satisfied with my career. It also increases my trust in China,” Fawad told the correspondent.

Construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam is underway and on track to begin operations in 2028.

It is a multi-purpose dam that will be used for water storage, flood mitigation, water diversion for irrigation and power generation.

“Diamer Bhasha dam will be the biggest dam in Pakistan’s history,” PM Imran Khan announced while addressing the public at the launch ceremony in Chilas.

“The dam will benefit the country both economically and environmentally, especially the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)”, Imran Khan said.

The mega project that will generate economic activity, is all set to generate thousands of jobs and opportunities for local businesses will be created. The project is expected to support almost 16,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction work (2020-2028).

Diamer Bhasha Dam is being constructed jointly by China Power Company and Frontier Works Organization.

The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) of Pakistan approved the award of Contract MW-1 Dam Part (Civil Works) and Tangir Hydropower Works to M/s Power China-FWO JV.

An agreement worth Rs442 billion with a joint venture namely Power China-FWO was signed on May 14, 2020 for the construction of diversion system, main dam, access bridge and 21MW Tangir Hydropower Project. Amir Bashir Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer of Diamer-Basha Dam and authorized representative Yang Jiandu signed the agreement on behalf of WAPDA and the joint venture respectively.

The Diamer Basha Dam Project, with a total financial outlay of about Rs1406.5 billion, it is estimated that it will be completed in 2028.

According to official documents, Diamer Bhasha Dam’s reservoir with 272-metre height, will be the tallest roller compact concrete (RCC) dam in the world. It has a proposed spillway with 14 gates and five outlets for flushing out silt. The diversion system involves two tunnels and a diversion canal. It will also include the construction of powerhouses.

According to Asim Saleem Bajwa, the Chairman of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, the dam would generate around 4,500MW of hydel power. Around 16,000 jobs (during construction of dam) will also be created for its construction.

“It’s indeed a historic moment as Prime Minister Imran Khan kicks off mega construction work at Diamer Bhasha Dam which has capacity of 6.4 Million acres feet water reservoir. It will add 4500 Mega Watts cheaper and greener Hydel power into system. Around 16,000 jobs will be created while constructing the dam,” Lieutenant General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa told the correspondent over telephone.

As the CPEC’s second phase begins, it starts creating economic activity bringing prosperity to Pakistan.

Projects worth $11 billion were signed in Islamabad in June and July.

On June 26, 2020, Pakistan and China signed a deal to build Kohala Hydel Power Project worth $2.4 billion investment. The project is expected to generate 5000 jobs for locals.

Meanwhile on July 26, 2020, Pakistan and China signed deal to build Azad Pattan Hydel power worth $1.5 billion. This project will generate 3000 direct jobs for Pakistanis.

Apart from that, Pakistan and china signed another $7.2 billion deal plans to overhaul Pakistan’s colonial-era railways which is the most expensive Chinese project in Pakistan to date. The project aims to generate great economic activity creating thousands of jobs.

Earlier in the first phase of CPEC, projects completed by Chinese companies in Pakistan generated more than 70,000 jobs for Pakistanis.

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