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New emphasis on hydro in Pakistan

The Council of Common interests (CCI), chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharift, has emphasised the importance of developing hydro power as a means of overcoming Pakistan’s growing financial difficulties.

According to the statement issued after the meeting, CCI has decided to support hydro power generation, because it is less expensive than IPPs which use imported fuels to generate thermal power.

According to reports, the CCI meeting had also discussed the construction of the controversial 2600MW Kalabagh dam on the Indus river, for which the World Bank had offered funding of about US$9B. Implementation of the hydro dam had been delayed for over ten years due to opposition from the provinces of Sindh and Balochistran.

Pakistan has recently stressed that the building of the Kalabagh dam in the province of Punjab is central to its economic plan to counter international sanctions imposed after Pakistan tested six nuclear weapons in May. By building the dam, the government hopes to cultivate thousands of acres of barren land in Punjab, as well as develop a huge block of hydro power.