Kalabagh Dam shelved forever

LAHORE-The govt has finally decided to shelve the controversial Kalabagh Dam project forever owing to the tremendous objection of the different stake-holders. This was stated by Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf here on Monday. Addressing a crowded Press conference at WAPDA House, he said that the PPP govt was a symbol of Federation and 'we cannot do anything going against the sovereignty of the country, so we have decided to do away with such kind of projects'. He said that controversy over Kalabagh Dam project had reached an alarming stage that was threatening the unity of the Federation. When asked about the expenses and funds, the Minister said that the funds allocated for the project would be utilised on some other viable project to get rid of the loadshedding menace. The Minister hoped that water level would be improved in the reservoirs, which would add 500 MW in addition. He said that next three months were crucial to resolve power crisis and the nation should bear with the govt over the ongoing power crisis. He said that there would be no loadshedding by next year end. He said that the govt would ensure the implementation of the decision of closing down of all major commercial centres and shopping plazas at 9 pm from June 1 to help overcome power crisis. He said that these steps would have to be taken to save power for at least 90 days. The Minister was confident that as a consequence of the steps taken by the govt loadshedding would be finished by end of next year. He, however, said it was a long-term project, as development of infrastructure would take about five years. He said 1,000MW of electricity would be added to the national grid by way of improvement of generation capacity of the existing power houses. He said that construction of Bhasha Dam would start next year besides the competition of Mangla raising project. APP adds: Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday said that the government is committed to eliminate the power crisis. The minister said this while speaking on the occasion of bids opening ceremony of 500 MW each Independent Power Projects at Faisalabad and Dadu. He said the government is taking steps by adopting rationale mechanism to generate more electricity through private sector. He said the government is also pursuing liberal policy to rebuild the investors' confidence and all possible support will be provided to facilitate them in this respect. The bids were opened by the bid evaluation committee in the presence of representatives of the bidding parties and the media. The Minister said the present energy crisis was a great challenge for the government that would be tackled prudently with cooperation of all stakeholders. He opined that the present government believes in processing all projects with transparency and observed that there would be no compromise on transparency. He said it is for the first time in the country's history that bids of about US$ one billion worth projects were being opened in public in presence of the national and international media. He said the government welcomes the investors and will facilitate them for development of the projects. He said that bids for another 1200 MW power projects have been invited and will also be opened in the presence of media on June 30. He expressed the hope that due to the measures being taken by the government, loadshedding will be eliminated from the country by August 14 next year. The bid evaluation committee informed that the bids would be evaluated in accordance with the requirements of the Request for Proposals (RFPs) within the prescribed time. The ceremony was held at Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) which was attended by Managing Director PPIB Fayyaz Elahi, all Directors of PPIB and other senior government officials of Finance, NEPRA and Ministry of Water and Power. Online adds: Pervez Ashraf said that the 62-point constitutional package finalised by PPP legislators would be tabled in the parliament after the budget and after consultations with all segments of the society. He informed that the suggestion to cut the tenure of the Chief Justice of Supreme Court is being under consideration but it is not final and the possibility of any changing cannot be ruled out. Responding to a question, the minister underlined that the constitutional package is the need of the hour and reflects the aspirations of people of the country, adding that PPP is the symbol of the federation and no steps would be taken without the consultations. Commenting on coordination with President Pervez Musharraf, the minister emphasised that the working relationship with him (Musharraf) would be maintained. 

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