China to build dam in Pakistan that World Bank, ADB refuse to fund


(Agencies) NEW DELHI: Pakistan claimed on Monday that China has offered to make a dam project on the Indus River that India objects to, a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)+ , said the state-run Radio Pakistan. The information about the project, the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, was conveyed by Pakistan’s state-run power utility to a committee of the country’s National Assembly on Monday. Earlier this month, Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal told Reuters in an interview that “Pakistan expects China to fund” the project. The Diamer-Bhasha Dam is a project that both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have refused to touch because India objects to its location, which is in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. India claims the region is a part of Kashmir. A little over a year ago, the US was making noises about supporting the project and India didn’t shy away from showing it was peeved. Muzamil Hussain, the chairman of the state-run power utility said that currently no mega hydro-power projects are included in CPEC, which is why both Pakistan and China are seriously considering making the Diamer-Bhasha a part of it. Two years ago, the World Bank refused to come on board as a lender for the dam project, because Pakistan didn’t want to seek a no-objection certificate from India for the project. And last November, the ADB too declined to fund what’s said to be a $14 billion project.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last December approved “in principle” the financing plan+ for the 4500 megawatt Diamer-Bhasha dam. He told his Water and Power secretary to begin preparations to start work on the dam before the end of next year. The Diamer-Bhasha Dam was first announced in 2006 and the foundation stone for it was laid in 2011.Pakistan envisages the dam project will generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity, Reuters reported earlier this month. A vast new reservoir is also expect to regulate the flow of water to farmland that is vulnerable to increasingly erratic weather patterns, the news agency added.