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The kickoff of construction work at Diamer Bhasha Dam today (Wednesday) would be a ‘historic milestone’ for the country, said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa.

In a tweet post, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting said that the construction of Diamer Bhasha would not only build a reservoir to store 6.4 million acre-feet of water, but it will also add 1.2 million acres for agriculture and will produce 4,500 MW of ‘cheaper, greener’ hydroelectricity.

Bajwa added that the construction would also boost sectors including steel, cement, and construction sectors creating over 16,000 jobs as well.

Diamer Bhasha dam, which is a mega project of national importance, was all set for physical implementation after issuance of Letter of Acceptance (LoA) to the contractors for award of main contract amounting to Rs442 billion by Wapda on May 4, 2020.

The contract of consultancy services of the project amounting to Rs 27.182 billion had also been awarded on May 11, 2020, and a total amount of Rs 39.088 billion was required in the current financial year to pay for the mobilization advance to the contractor as well as the consultants.

Though Chinese company is part of a joint venture in the Diamer Bhasha Dam Project, China had refused to fund the project on the plea that since Asian Development Bank and World Bank are reluctant to be part of the project is disputed territory, it cannot also fund the project. The incumbent Chairman, Wapda, Lt General Muzammal Hussain( retired) also criticized ADB for not being part of the project and delaying it by giving different justifications.