Diamer-Bhasha Dam: Finally a step in the right direction

After passage of 30 years of completion of first feasibility report, the government has finally started building the $12 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam. The situation would have been far different from what it is now, if the decision had been taken well in time.

Diamer-Bhasha, the world’s highest concrete dam with a height of 272 metres will be constructed on the Indus River about 300 kilometres upstream of Tarbela Dam, which will generate 4500 Mega Watt electricity with capacity of storing 8.1 million acre feet of water. However, the project will start benefiting the energy-starved and water-short country after 12 years.

Some experts are of the opinion that there are other short-term projects, even faster ones, which will start giving result for the water and power shortfall quicker than the Diamer-Bhasha dam. Out of these Kalabagh Dam is the first name in their discussions.

If Kalabagh started in the midway tenure of former president Pervez Musharraf, it will have bridged out current shortage of five to six thousands megawatts electricity by increasing power generation up to 3,600 MW.

But, even that will have been a high price for less prolonged power outages given that Sindh will possibly have been separated from the country as a province. It is located at the bank of the river; hence, it was the strongest opponent of the project with a number of logical evidences.

The project of Kalabagh Dam has become much politicised, as all the provinces excluding Punjab rejected it through the assemblies.

Keeping in view the backdrop, the beginning of Diamer-Bhasha Dam should be definitely welcomed. However, there are still few reservations regarding this project.

Technically, the dam is being constructed in an extremely insightful seismic range. According to different researches, the destruction will be multiplied in presence of the dam in case of natural disaster particularly hazard of earthquake.

Secondly, people of Gilgit-Baltistan started protesting, as they are feared that the project will affect their lives. Moreover, many villages of Diamer will be inundated in result of the construction.

The little opposing will eliminate with the passage of time, but this project will ease the miseries of masses in the long terms. The construction of Diamer-Bhasha will enhance the life of Tarbela Dam, decreasing its silting dilemma.

But the government will have to take steps at the earliest to overcome the current electricity shortfall that is clogging the country in every sector.