The Asian Development Bank on Wednesday refused to fund Pakistan’s $14 billion (Rs 9,300 crore approximately) dam project on the Indus river in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. According to PTI, the reason cited by the foreign lender is that the project needs “big money”.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao (above right) said, “We did not really make any commitment. This is a very big project.” He, however, added that the bank may change its decision later, according to Dawn. The ADB said the dam’s financial requirements were so high that no institution, country or group could fund it alone. It asked the government to segregate the finances for the project and added that instead, Pakistan should seek monetary help from multiple lenders for power generation, land acquisition and the main dam structure.
Currently, the United States Agency for International Development is conducting a feasibility study on the Diamer-Bhasha dam. The dam, which will come up in the Gilgit-Baltistan region in PoK, is expected to generate a power output of 4,500 mega watts. It will also have water storage capacity of over six million acre feet. Bloomberg News had earlier said that the dam could mitigate half of Pakistan's energy shortage.
Nakao also urged Islamabad to "wisely" implement projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which India has opposed because it passes through PoK. The lender also said Pakistan must judiciously spend its money to avoid debt or repayment problems.
This is not the first time the dam project has failed to get financial help from abroad. The ADB’s refusal comes two years after the World Bank had declined to fund the project following Islamabad’s refusal to seek a no-objection certificate from India.