ISLAMABAD , September 07- Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has said that the government would go ahead with both Dasu and Diamer Projects at the same time and eventually phase out costly thermal power generation which had resulted in large import bill.

He directed the officials of the Ministry of Water and Power to plan for the international investors meeting to be held in Washington DC to attract donor agencies and US investors for construction of mega dams in Pakistan with special emphasis on opportunities available in Diamer Bhasha Dam Project.

The finance minister said this while chairing a meeting to discuss issues related to financing of Diamer Bhasha Dam at the Finance Ministry on Saturday. He observed that Indus River Cascade had an over ninety thousands mega watts power generation capacity and had there been focus on hydel power generation.

He said that Pakistan would not have shortage of energy or water. He directed Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) chairman to expedite formulation of a comprehensive Hydel Power Policy in order to attract private sector investment in this huge potential. He emphasized that hydel led energy mix could provide cheaper electricity to the people of Pakistan.

He mentioned that with the construction of three gorges dam, China has placed a check on floods and built a reservoir on which the whole China was benefiting. WAPDA Chairman Mr Zafar Mahmood briefed the finance minister on a draft Hydel Power Policy which was being prepared and it would include all issues related to attract private sector investment in hydel power generation in Pakistan.

He said that the policy would provide for upfront tariff to the international investors. He informed that the policy would also address environmental aspects in addition to technical and financial aspects. He informed that the draft policy was essential for attracting private sector investment in hydel power generation.

The WAPDA chairman briefed the finance minister on the work done so far in connection with Diamer Bhasha Dam. The finance minister was informed that during the last twenty four hours, Mangla Dam had absorbed two million acre feet of water from its catchment areas. He said that the Mangla Dam Raising Project had brought immense benefits not only for conservation of water but also to control flooding.

Finance Ministry advisor, finance secretary, Economic Affairs Division secretary, BOI chairman, Dr Waqar Masood, Mr Miftah Ismail, Mr Saleem Sethi, Rana Assad Amin, and senior officials of the Ministries of Finance and Water and Power also attended the meeting. INP