ISLAMABAD - While the World Bank and Asian Development Bank are reluctant to support financially Pakistan’s Bhasha Dam project on Indus River, United States has assured its support for the project.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G Olson called on Federal Minister for Water and Power, Ch Ahmed Mukhtar here on Friday and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to support Pakistan in energy sector.

He said Diamer Bhasha Dam was an important project for future water requirements and to generate cheaper power and added that the US was interested in this project and other hydel projects. He said that Diamer Bhasha Dam project would be discussed in the meeting of US-Pakistan Economic Working Group to be held next month in Washington.

He said US is committed to work with Government of Pakistan towards a brighter future for the people of Pakistan. The US is providing assistance in various power sector projects and working modernising Tarbela Power Station, Mangla Dam Power House, Upgrading Jamshoro, Guddu Muzaffargarh Thermal Plants, providing funds for completing Gomal Zam Dam and Satpata Dam projects. These energy projects would add 900 MW to the power grid by 2013.

The Minister for Water and Power Ahmed Mukhtar appreciated US cooperation and assistance being extended to the power sector and said that it would help to improve the efficiency of public sector power entities. The government, he said, was working on power sector reforms, rehabilitation, upgradation of Gencos, improvement in the working of Discos, distribution of 30 million energy savers, installation of smart meters, improvement in recoveries, controlling power theft and reduction in line losses.

It is worth mentioning here that earlier World Bank and Asian Development Bank had refused to financially support Bhasha Dam. Certain quarters believed that Indian influence was behind the reluctance of ADB to fund the project. World Bank has even raised the issue that Bhasha Dam was located in controversial area.