Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan has emphasised that the 5th Extension of Tarbela hydropower project will help meet rapidly increasing requirement of water and electricity in the country.
“It will also improve energy security by increasing the share of clean and affordable energy in the country’s energy mix,” he added, according to a statement issued on Monday.
Chairing a high-level meeting with a World Bank team to review the progress on Tarbela’s 5th Extension, the minister directed the relevant authorities to remove all bottlenecks, address the impending issues and ensure timely completion of the project. He also highlighted the issue of hiring local people, especially the Tarbela Dam affectees, by project authorities and contractors.
Khan stressed that local people, who had suffered due to land acquisition for construction of the dam in the 1960s and 1970s, should be given preference in jobs as per an agreed policy.
Furthermore, he directed the authorities to facilitate the local residents in their mobility in project areas and provide alternative access routes. On the request of local community, the minister proposed the upgrade of the vocational institute, Tarbela Ghazi to a technical college.
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He also discussed the proposal to start community development schemes under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme by the relevant authorities.
The World Bank has provided $390 million for the 5th Extension of Tarbela hydropower project, which will generate 1,410 megawatts of electricity. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has committed to provide $300 million for the project.
During the meeting, the World Bank team appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to put the project on track after initial delays due to a variety of reasons.
Wapda representatives told the minister that the contract for electro-mechanical works for the 5th Extension project had recently been awarded to a joint venture through international competitive bidding. The project will be connected with 500-kilovolt transmission lines, which will be laid by the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) separately for the transmission of electricity.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2021.
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