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Diamer-Bhasha will be top priority: new Wapda chief

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LAHORE: Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) chairman-designate Zafar Mehmood has briefly explained his working agenda, putting launch and completion of the 4,500MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam project on top of his priority list.

HunzaNews April 19,2014

Mehmood, a former federal secretary for water and power and commerce, is about to quit his current job as the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman. He has submitted his resignation to takeover Wapda.

The seat became vacant after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepted Syed Raghib Abbas Shah’s resignation on Thursday. Shah had tendered his resignation to the premier a couple of days ago citing personal reasons.

“Diamer-Bhasha Dam project is vital for the country in terms of power generation and overcoming the prevailing energy crisis, therefore, it will be on top of my priority list,” he said while talking to Dawn on Friday. “Moreover, this project is the need of the hour to avoid accumulation of sediments in Tarbela and other dams.

The sediments are not only reducing their life but also reducing their power generation capacity gradually. So we will gear up various assignments leading to launching and completion of Bhasha and other projects in hand,” Mehmood explained.

According to a report compiled by Wapda on Feb 3 on Bhasha dam, the Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs have already lost about 5.3MAF due to sedimentation. “It is estimated that by 2016, this loss will increase to 6.6MAF, almost equal to the original combined capacity of Mangla and Chashma reservoirs,” the report reads.

Mehmood said launch and completion of Bhasha dam project would be helpful in reducing sedimentation in the existing major dams, increasing power generation, conserving water and controlling floods.

He said he would prefer visiting the dam site soon after taking over. “I have submitted my resignation to the prime minister in order to get myself relieved from the post of PPSC chairman. I hope the resignation will be accepted very soon. And hopefully, I will assume the new office on Saturday (today) or surely on Monday,” he said, confirming the government had already issued a notification about his appointment as Wapda chief.

Mehmood said since he had worked as water and power secretary in the federal government, he knew about related issues. “But I don’t know exactly about the current status of the projects initiated during my tenure in the Ministry of Water and Power as secretary. I am studying Wapda’s annual report to know the current status,” he added.


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