Pakistan: Diamer-Bhasha Dam project accused of damaging the environment and local communities

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19 May 2020

Pakistan: Experts warn against Diamer-Bhasha Dam project due to concerns over potential disastrous ecological consequences

Author: Economic Times

“China-funded Diamer-Basha Dam in PoK an ecological disaster in the making”, 18 May 2020

Pakistan’s decision to go ahead with the Diamer-Basha Dam in PoK not only infringes upon India’s sovereignty but can be an ecological disaster as there are 300 earthquakes on average in a single month at the proposed site of the Diamer-Basha dam. And this is not the only challenge as the reservoir of the dam is to be constructed on top of the Central Asian faultline.

China’s state-run China Power [Power China] and Pakistan army’s commercial body Frontiers Works Organisation signed an accord to construct the Dam...

A letter written by the original designer of the dam, General Butt, in 2004 to then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf stated, “I shudder at the thought of earthquake effects on Bhasha. Dam-burst would wipe out Tarbela and all barrages on Indus; which would take us back to the stone-age.”

In a September 2018 letter addressed to the then chief justice of Pakistan, one of the US’s foremost design and infrastructure firms, AECOM, cautioned against the proposed Diamer Basha dam. The letter said, “If Wapda decides to proceed with this concept, the cost would be exorbitant and construction time would exceed ten years. The project risk associated with an RCC dam is extremely high due to the transportation issue and seismic profile found at the location of the project. In summation, for practical and economic reasons the RCC dam should not be recommended for the DBD project.”

India had objected to the construction of the dam repeatedly as it falls into the Indian territory. And if constructed the Dam can cause water shortage in Ladakh. The 200-sq km reservoir of the dam could flood 100 kms of the Karakoram highway, and the villages and farms of over 35,000 people could disappear. Tens of thousands of thousand-year old rock carvings could also vanish. Officials from the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) of Pakistan have revealed that China will most likely fund the bulk of project costs, as well as provide 17,000 workers from the Three Gorges Dam Project. It is also likely that a Chinese company will be in charge of construction of the dam.

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19 May 2020

Pakistan: World Sindhi Congress alleges Diamer-Bhasha Dam project of causing significant damage to environment and indigenous people

Author: Asian News International (India)

“World Sindhi Congress condemns Pak's decision to build Diamer-Bhasha Dam on Indus”, 17 May 2020

The World Sindhi Congress (WSC) has strongly condemned Pakistan government's decision to build Diamer-Bhasha Dam on river Indus.

In a statement, the WSC said the organisation believes that the Sindhis and indigenous people in the region are already suffering from the shortage of agriculture water and required discharge into the Arabian Sea to block the seawater intrusion into the mainland.

Subsequently, building a new dam will make things worse.

The construction of mega-dams completely changes the relationship between water, land, and indigenous people by destroying the existing ecosystem balance, which developed throughout thousands of years. Today's world is moving away from mega-dams because of the enormous cost and significant damage to the environment and the people.

The WSC also urged Islamabad to scrap any mega-dams from plans and instead focus thoroughly on modern water management and electricity generation from solar, nuclear, and other renewable energy sources…

The Congress further appealed to the international community to raise their voices and reject the mega-dam construction on river… They also called on the Sindh Assembly to pass a resolution regarding the dismissal of the Diamer-Bhasha dam construction, which otherwise, will deprive the communities from the accessing the river waters. (ANI)

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