Beijing on Friday rejected the objection raised by New Delhi over the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam and said economic cooperation between China and Pakistan was aimed at promoting economic development and improving the well-being of the local population.
While responding to a question about the construction of the dam during a media briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said: “China and Pakistan conduct the economic cooperation in order to promote the economic development and improve the well-being of the local population.”
Referring to the Indian External Affairs Ministry’s stance, Lijian stated that China’s position on the issue of Kashmir was consistent.
The spokesperson said the project was mutually beneficial and win-win for the two all-weather friends and strategic cooperative partners.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed to immediately start construction activities of the dam after issues related to settlement, detailed road map for mobilisation and financial resources of the Diamer-Bhasha dam were resolved.
The Diamer-Bhasha dam is a 4,500-megawatt project with an estimated cost of US$ 15 billion and which is expected to be one of the largest dams in the world after completion.
The project, being termed as a positive stimulus for Pakistan’s economy, will not only create 16,500 jobs but will also generate 4,500 MW of electricity.
Additionally, the project will also irrigate 1.2 million acres of agricultural land while extending the life of Tarbela Dam by 35 years.
The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) awarded the contract of the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam on Wednesday to a joint venture between Power China and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO)
Speaking on the occasion, WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen (retired) Muzammil Hussain said that the contract for the construction of the main dam was worth Rs442bn, which includes the construction of the main dam, a diversion system, access bridge and a 21MW hydropower plant in Tangir.
Diamer-Basha dam Chief Executive Officer Amir Bashir Chaudhry and authorised representative Yang Jiandu signed the agreement on behalf of WAPDA and the joint venture, respectively.
The WAPDA official said that the Diamer-Bhasha project’s value was estimated at around Rs1,406.5bn and will complete in 2028.
The dam will be able to provide the national grid 18 billion units of electricity annually.
Hussain said that earlier a consultancy service contract had also been awarded to the Diamer Basha Consultants Group (DBCG) worth Rs27.18 bn.
The consultancy agreement includes construction design, construction supervision and contract administration of the Diamer-Basha dam project.
The Joint Venture DBCG comprises of 12 top-ranked national and foreign consulting firms namely NESPAK (Pakistan), Associate Consulting Engineers(Pakistan), Mott MacDonald Pakistan (Pakistan), Poyry (Switzerland), Montgomery Watson and Harza(MWH) International – Stantec (USA), Dolsar Engineering (Turkey), Mott McDonald International (England), China Water Resources Beifang Investigation, Design and Research Company (China), Mirza Associates Engineering Services (Pakistan), Al-Kasib Group of Engineering Services (Pakistan), Development Management Consultant (Pakistan) and MWH Pakistan (Pakistan) with NESPAK as the lead firm.
These firms have a vast experience of providing consultancy services for mega water projects the world over.