The country’s most vital project, the Dasu hydropower project’s stage -1 with the ability to generate 2160 MW hydel electricity, has been delayed by three years, with a cost escalation of Rs100 billion expected. The project, which was supposed to be completed and commissioned in 2023-24, will now come on stream in 2026-27, according to a senior Wapda official.
Read more: Mohmand Dam to be completed by 2025
Reasons behind the delay for three years are Covid pandemic, failure in land acquisition, and the terrorist attack on a bus full of Chinese officials at the project location. The Water and Resources Ministry also confirmed the development saying the project has been delayed by three years. Water and resources ministry and Wapda will submit to the Planning Commission the revised PC-1 of the project for cost escalation for authorization by CDWP and ECNEC.
The sources shared that this delay has badly affected the construction schedule as the major milestone of River Diversion which was earlier scheduled in Nov-Dec 2021 slipped to Dec-2022 causing a one-year delay. Overall physical progress achieved is 12 percent.
Moreover, full land acquisition has not been done yet since the land comes under the unsettled area and revenue department has so far failed to spot the owners of the land.
Land acquisition has become a difficult task, which is why the project’s speed has slowed, which are solely the responsibility of the provincial government of KPK and the district administration of Kohistan Upper to acquire land and hand it over to Wapda for project implementation in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act 1894. The resolution of land acquisition concerns in 2019 took substantial time and effort, resulting in a nearly three-year delay in the project.
According to official information, the whole preparation work, which includes Project Colony, access infrastructure, and a dedicated 132 Ky Dubair-Dasu transmission line, is almost 50 percent complete.
The speed of work on the main civil works was slow in the beginning, but after resolving some of the land acquisition issues in 2019, work on the project was going fine and gaining momentum amid the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak until July 14, 2021, when an upsetting terrorist attack occurred on a bus of Chinese Contractor staff, resulting in several casualties and injuries, causing a complete suspension of work for the next almost four months.
The objective of the Dasu Hydropower Stage I Project (DHP-1) for Pakistan is to facilitate the expansion of electricity supply of hydropower in Pakistan. The Project will also improve access to socio-economic services for local communities in the project area and build the WAPDA’s capacity to prepare future hydropower projects. However, if it would have been completed without a delay, country would