Chinese firm unwilling to resume works on Dasu project

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Work on the World Bank-funded energy project came to a halt after the bus blast…reports Asian Lite News

After 13 people were killed in a bus blast at the Dasu Hydropower Project, including nine Chinese nationals on July 13, the Chinese firm is still reluctant to resume work.

The talks between the Water and Power Development Authority and China’s Gezhouba Group Company on the resumption of work on the Dasu hydropower project remained inconclusive in Islamabad on Wednesday, reported Dawn.

Work on the World Bank-funded energy project came to a halt after the bus blast. Beijing also stepped in to probe this bus attack, the Chinese forces were allowed to investigate this matter despite the fact that the Imran Khan government has repeatedly stated that it won’t allow foreign security set up on its land.

The Chinese ambassador was present in the talks, while Water & Power Development Authority (Wapda) chairman retired Lt-General Muzammil Hussain led the Wapda team.

A member of Pakistani negotiators told Dawn that the parleys, which were postponed last week, were held in presence of Chinese ambassador Nong Rong but the Chinese company continued to be reluctant to resume work on the project for security and other reasons.

He, however, said the two sides decided to hold another round of talks to ensure early resumption of work.

The source said the Wapda chairman informed the Chinese company’s representatives and ambassador about the deployment of the Pakistan Army’s troops in Upper and Lower Kohistan and Kolai-Palas districts.

He said the Pakistan Army’s brigades deployed in Kohistan district would escort Chinese nationals to work and respective camps via the Karakoram Highway, reported Dawn.

The source said both sides also discussed progress on the bus blast probe by the Chinese agencies and counter-terrorism department.

The source said the joint bus blast investigation by the military and civil agencies was almost complete and led to the collection of ‘important evidence’ of the culprits, reported Dawn.

Meanwhile, a World Bank team returned to Islamabad after a week-long visit to the Upper Kohistan district.

It held meetings about the Dasu power project with the Chinese company’s representatives and district administration and sought foolproof security for workers both local and foreign.

They also questioned Mohammad Masnoor, Chief Engineer Dasu Hydropower project, and Abdul Ghaffar stated to be the overall security in-charge of the project about the security arrangements and bus explosion.

“They also inquired about the schedule of the re-launching of the Dasu dam’s execution which is still suspended since the bus incident,” an official said on the condition of anonymity, reported The News International. (ANI)

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