While China’s initial reluctance was attributed to the sheer scale of the project, costing tens of billions of dollars, in the changed CPEC-helmed geo-economic-strategic context, its re-calculations cannot be ruled out.
Delayed implementation of the DBD project has led to cynicism and angst amongst the people of Pakistan. In spite the government’s assurance, it is feared that the DBD could meet the same fate as the Kalabagh project which was shelved after getting embroiled in inter-provincial politics.
This year Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage and the shortage during the current Rabi crop is estimated to be around 35 to 40 per cent, which will adversely affect the wheat output, critical for the country’s food security. Pakistan also faces an acute power shortage, which has exacerbated by the reduced outflow from Tarbela Dam. To tide over the problems, Pakistan is building Bhasha Dam on River Indus, which is the largest dam being built in Pakistan since Tarbela was completed in 1976. Continuous silting has reduced the storage capacity of Tarbela and Mangla dams considerably.