Wednesday February 28, 2024

Work on Dasu project to resume in stages starting Oct 25: Chinese firm

Workers to be notified via telephone to report back to work, says China Gezhouba Group Company

October 24, 2021
A board showing the site of Dasu Hydro Power Project. — APP/File
A board showing the site of Dasu Hydro Power Project. — APP/File

The Chinese firm working on the Dasu hydropower project has announced it is resuming construction work that had been halted due to "security concerns", Geo News reported on Sunday.

According to a statement by China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), phase-wise resumption of work will begin on October 25.

All the Chinese engineers and foreigners working on the project visited the Dasu dam site.

The Chinese firm instructed all Pakistani workers working on the project to be prepared to report back to work. It said that all workers will be notified of the decision to resume work via telephone.

Instructions have also been issued to the Chinese company employees to bring COVID test results and their vaccination records with them.

The company had stopped work on the project, being carried out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Kohistan district, after at least 12 people, including nine Chinese workers, were killed on July 14 when a bus carrying them fell into a ravine following an explosion due to a suicide attack.

In the wake of the incident, the civil administration, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and CGGC decided with mutual consultation to suspend construction work on the project for a few days so some operational aspects can be re-organsied and construction work resumes in a more secure atmosphere.

Since then, WAPDA had been in close coordination with the CGGC high-ups and it was expected that the CGGC will restart construction activities on the project in a few days.

A statement issued by WAPDA later in July said that the Chinese company working on the Dasu project had withdrawn the notice terminating Pakistani employees.

Then Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, in a statement responding to media queries, said: “The Chinese construction company [...] through its latest notification has declared its earlier notice, about contract termination of employment of Pakistani personnel working on Dasu Hydropower Project, null and void.”

The Chinese company, according to Geo News, has now acknowledged that WAPDA has significantly improved security for the project.