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Asian bank assures assistance for Pakistan hydro

Pakistani officials report a delegation from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has assured ADB will provide millions of dollars of support and assistance to Pakistan's water and power sectors.

A government statement said the federal minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervez Ashraf received assurances from Sean O'Sullivan, head of the ADB delegation, which met with Ashraf April 17. The minister said the new government is facing a shortfall of more than 3,000 MW and hopes to attract foreign investment in the power sector.

To meet the shortfall, Ashraf said the government seeks ADB assistance to complete large run-of-river hydropower projects, such as 1,200-MW Kohala on the Jhelum River (HNN 9/14/07) and 5,458-MW Bunji on the Indus River. (HNN 7/20/07) He said he also hoped ADB would provide liberal financial assistance to the 4,500-MW Basha (or Diamer Basha) Dam project on the Indus, where work is to begin in early 2009. (HNN 3/27/08)

The ADB delegation noted the bank is a major financier for Pakistan's power and water sectors, including renewable energy (HNN 4/21/08), transmission improvements (HNN 2/5/08), and small hydro. (HNN 10/8/07)

O'Sullivan said to meet the financial requirements of such projects, the bank has agreed to a multi-tranche financing facility of US$800 million, extendable to US$1.2 billion.

WAPDA reports projects advance

Ashraf also chaired a meeting to review the progress of water mega-projects. Chairman Shakeel Durrani of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) said 66 percent progress has been achieved on a project to increase the height of 35-year-old 1,000-MW Mangla Dam on the Jhelum, which is to be complete by September. (HNN 9/5/07)

Durrani said work on 500-kW Mirani Dam on the Dasht River and 100-kW Sabakzai Dam has been substantially completed. He added that 12.7-MW Satpara Dam on the Indus is to be completed in June. WAPDA plans to add 2.5-MW Satpara 3 and 1.46-MW Satpara 4 plants to the 12.7-MW Satpara 1 and 2. (HNN 9/12/07) Durrani said 17.4-MW Gomal Zam Dam is to be finished in October 2010.

Durrani added that Greater Thal Canal, Katchi Canal, and Rainee Canal are in progress and proceeding satisfactorily, eventually bringing 2.5 million acres under irrigation.

Iran offers investment in water, power

Ashraf also met with Iranian Ambassador Masha Allah Shakeri who agreed to expedite the export of 1,000 MW from Iran to Pakistan and offered investment in water and power sectors, particularly in the construction of dams.

Shakeri suggested establishing a joint investment company to advance investments in water and power. He also offered what the government called sizable investment in hydropower plants.

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