ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday kicked off the mega construction work at Diamer-Bhasha Dam at River Indus near Chilas, that will produce 4,500 inexpensive and green hydel power. The 272-metre high, having capacity of 6.4 million acre feet water reservoir, will be the country’s third big dam after Tarbela and Mangla dams. Prime Minister Imran Khan termed the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam a “window of development and opportunities for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan”.“Diamer-Bhasha Dam will change the fate of locals and bring immense development in the area,” the prime minster said while addressing a public rally, after he commenced the mega construction work of the dam. Imran Khan said Pakistan was blessed with natural water resources with steep land gradients to generate fast flow, required for producing less expensive electricity.He regretted that previous governments ignored construction of dams and instead opted for fuel modes for electricity generation. He said producing electricity through imported fuel and furnace oil, resulted in high current account deficit that took the economy to downward trend, currency devaluation, inflation, poverty and de-industrialization.He said due to such poor policies of previous tenures, his government inherited a huge US dollar 20 billion current account deficit. Imran Khan said only those nations thrived that invested in human resource by focusing on education, health and justice.He cited the example of China’s success based on long-term plans to attain a stable place in the comity of nations.He said more dams would be built in the country at regular intervals to meet the requirements of future.The prime minister also mentioned his plantation campaign aimed at reducing the risks of climate change as the country falls in list of 10 most vulnerable.He said the northern areas including Chilas depended on tourism which was greatly impacted by the current coronavirus pandemic.He asked the Chief Commissioner to allow tourists with standard operating procedures (SOPs), to be recommended by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).He expressed the confidence that people of Chilas would not lag behind in development as the Diamer-Bhasha Dam project would create job opportunities.He said construction of a cadet college in Chilas was also underway, which would provide best education facilities to local students.He expressed satisfaction over the fact that electricity was being provided free of cost to the locals.Imran Khan said increase in budget for Gilgit-Baltistan was aimed at uplifting its residents and to improve their living standards.He said other neglected parts of the country including erstwhile tribal areas and Balochistan were being given unprecedented funds to bring them into journey of mainstream development.Earlier, the prime minister was given a briefing at the dams site, which was also attended by Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda and Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur.Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General Inter Services Intelligence Lt General Faiz Hameed were present.About the project, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information Gen ® Asim Saleem Bajwa in a tweet termed the mobilisation for Diamer-Bhasha Dam as “historic milestone”.He said the 6.4 MAF (million acre feet) water reservoir would add 1.2 million acres for agriculture and generate 4,500 mega watt cheaper and greener hydel power.He mentioned that the project would boost sectors of steel, cement and construction besides creating 16,000 jobs.