Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah has said that Diamer Basha Dam is a significant project for the national economy, as this will store water for irrigated agriculture, help mitigate floods and generate environment-friendly and low-cost hydel electricity. He expressed these views while visiting Diamer Basha Dam, being constructed by WAPDA on River Indus, downstream of Chilas town, said a press release. He was accompanied by Advisor to PM on KA&GB Qamar Zaman Kaira, Special Assistant to PM on Water Resources Muhammad Ali Shah Bacha, Federal Secretary Water Resources Hasan Nasir Jamy and Chairman WAPDA Lt Gen Sajjad Ghani (Retd). The minister reviewed excavation at right abutment of the dam and construction work on diversion system and permanent bridge. The minister, while assuring the full support of the Ministry, directed the project management to expedite their efforts for completion of the project as early as possible. Earlier, CEO Diamer Basha Dam Company along with the GM,PD, the consultants and the contractors briefed the minister about progress on the project. Construction work is being carried out on 10 different sites, which include excavation of dam abutments from the top, diversion tunnel, diversion canal, power intake, permanent access bridge and access roads. Scheduled for completion in 2029, Diamer Basha Dam will have a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 MAF to irrigate 1.23 million acres of additional land. It will have installed power generation capacity of 4,500 MW, and provide 18 billion units of green and clean hydel electricity to the National Grid per annum. Later, the minister inaugurated 3 MW-Thak Hydel Power Station – a small power house, sufficient to fulfill energy requirements of 1500-1800 households. This has been constructed by WAPDA with a cost of Rs.1.309 billion as one of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). An independent 26-Km long transmission line has also been constructed with a cost of Rs.469.039 million for evacuation of electricity from the Hydel Power Station to Harpan Das model village, Chilas. Addressing the local elders, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said that the Federal Government is committed to socio-economic uplift of the people in the project area. He said that a sum of Rs.78.5 billion is being spent on resettlement of affectees and CBMs in health, education and infrastructure development. The Federal Minister reiterated that the locals will always be accorded priority in employment opportunities on Diamer Basha Dam Project.