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TARBELA: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said the government has decided to construct 10 dams within next 10 years with a view to averting the looming water scarcity in the country as well as protect the future generations.

“We have decided to constrict 10 dams within 10 years including Dasu and Bhasha dams. We may face water shortage in the future and would be unable to cope with the needs of people and farmers unless we have storages,” the prime minister said addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of Tarbela-5 (T5) expansion project.

With the financial assistance of World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the project would be completed costing $807 million within three years period.

The project is aimed at protecting the Tarbela Dam against silting besides helping generate 1530 MW electricity and provide 1.34 billion units of power to the national grid.

The construction of Tarbela-5 expansion project would also beget 3,000 jobs and would enhance power production capacity of Tarbela Hydropower Project from 4,888 MW to 6,418 MW.

It would also play an important role to cope with the country’s needs of water, food and energy. Under the project, the water supply for irrigation purpose would also continue.

PM Imran promises more dams, focus on 'clean energy'

The prime minister, who earlier unveiled the plaque, said the project’s objective was to achieve clean energy and make Pakistan contribute to fight the global warming.

Referring a to a latest research, the prime minister said the world weather was turning hot very fast making the world face the issues like forest fires as had been witnessed in US, Turkey, Greece and countries.

Moreover, the unprecedented floods and extremely hot weathers like Jacobabad were also the consequences of the global warming.

The prime minister viewed that the generation of clean energy would help mitigate the effects of global warming. He resolved to make Pakistan a country with its major chunk of energy coming from clean sources like hydro, solar or wind instead of fuels.

Besides providing clean energy, the Tarbela-5 would also protect the dam against silting was just four kilometer from the reservoir, he said. Moreover, the construction of Dasu and Bhasha dams would also help slow down the silt.

Imran Khan said unfortunately, the previous governments had not constructed water reservoirs either due to lack of long term planning or because they just focused their five-year term.

He told the gathering that the construction of Bhasha Dam was decided in 1984 but was not constructed owing to lack long term planning.

The prime minister said the previous governments had signed the exorbitant contracts making the country pay whether the electricity was consumed or not. This way, the consumers including the industry had to bear the cost. Owing to the costly electricity, the industry could not compete with the world market until the government paid subsidy. He said China was making progress just because of the long term planning.

Imran said Pakistan’s rivers got 80% of water inflow within three to four months and the construction of reservoirs was extremely essential to store supply water throughout the year. He hoped that the construction of Mohmand Dam would complete by 2025 and Bhasha Dam in 2028 which would ensure the protection of future generations.

The prime minister particularly appreciated the performance of Chairman of Water and Power Development Authority Lt General (Retd) Muzzammil Hussain for keeping up the construction work of dams despite COVID-related restrictions.

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