Chinese Companies Suspend Operations at Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha Dams Due to Security Concerns

In a recent development that has sent ripples across the energy sector, Chinese companies have put a temporary halt to the construction of the Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha Dams. This decision was taken in the wake of escalating security concerns for the staff working on these projects. The suspension comes on the heels of a similar pause in work at the Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project.

The move to suspend operations was triggered by a tragic incident that unfolded in Shangla, where a terror attack claimed the lives of six individuals, including five Chinese engineers. These engineers were part of the team working on the Dasu Dam. The attack involved an explosive-laden vehicle that targeted the bus transporting these individuals on the Karakoram Highway in the Bisham area.

At the time of the incident, approximately 991 Chinese engineers were employed on both the Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha Dam projects. Following the attack, the local staff has been instructed to stay at home until further notice. This information was confirmed by an official associated with the project.

The Dasu Dam, located in District Upper Kohistan, employs around 741 Chinese and 6,000 local workers and is designed to generate 4,320 MW of power. Despite the recent developments, work on the Mohmand Dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa continues unabated, with Chinese engineers still present and active at the site.

Nazakat Hussain, the General Manager of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam (DBD), confirmed the suspension of work on the dam by the Chinese company. He revealed that around 500 Chinese nationals were engaged in DBD, but the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) staff continues to work. The dam construction employs around 6,000 locals.

Hussain expressed hope that the situation would normalize in a few days, leading to the return of Chinese employees. Once completed, the Diamer-Bhasha Dam is expected to produce 4,800 MW of electricity through hydropower generation.

In contrast, Asim Rauf, the General Manager of Mohmand Dam, stated that 250 Chinese continue to work on the Mohmand Dam and they have not stopped work. He mentioned that the Chinese have expressed satisfaction over the security situation in the project area. Upon completion, the Mohmand Dam will generate 740 MWs of hydroelectricity, irrigate 15,100 acres of land, and control floods downstream.

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