Beijing to help build dam in Northern Areas

22 August 2009
The Dawn

HANGZHOU (China): Pakistan and China on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding for construction of Bunji dam in Northern Areas. The agreement was signed on behalf of Pakistan's ministry of water and power and China's Three Gorges Project Corporation by the Chairman, Board of Investment, Saleem Mandviwala, and Li Yang'an. The ceremony was attended by President Asif Zardari. Addressing a business forum in Zhejiang, the president offered transit facility to Chinese companies, saying Pakistan's ports would benefit Chinese firms by giving them easy access to ports. Before the signing ceremony, Li Yang'an called on President Zardari and the two discussed Pakistan-China cooperation in hydel power generation. After a presentation on small dams and irrigation by Zhejiang Design Institute of Water Conservancy and Hydroelectric Power, President Zardari sought Chinese assistance in hydel, thermal and solar power generation and invited Chinese companies to carry out feasibility studies. 'We need solar power for individual housing units and I want the Chinese to carry out study in Pakistan,' Mr Zardari said. Assuring Chinese companies of full assistance, President Zardari said that Pakistan needed power units that were not only cheap but also feasible for housing and commercial units. Earlier, president of the institute Li Yueming said they had carried out studies of couple of medium-sized dams in Azad Kashmir and constructed over 100 such dams around the world Africa, South America and Turkey. 'China never ceases to surprise me,' President Zardari said after the presentation. Later, Chairman Wapda Shakeel Durrani said Chinese companies were already working on a number of hydel projects in Pakistan, including Neelum-Jhelum, Gomal Zam and Mangla raising. He said the institute would be invited to bid for construction of 12 small dams. In a meeting with President Zardari, President of Zhejiang Zhengtai Solar Energy Science and Technology Company Yang Liyou said his company specialised in solar power units for homes and industries of up to 20 megawatts, catering to the needs of small farming communities. He said his company was also ready to collaborate with Pakistan in public and private sectors. President of Zhejiang Academy of Agriculture Sciences Chen Jianping also called on President Zardari. After the meeting, Mr Chen Jianping said that his academy would collaborate with Pakistani agricultural institutes and scientists for improving agriculture practices. Addressing a forum on Pakistan Zhejiang Trade and Investment Opportunities, President Zardari said that China was the world's next super power for trade and investment. The forum was organized by Pakistan embassy and the department of commerce of Zhejiang province. Representatives of Zhejiang's 16 top business houses, with a combined annual turnover of billions of dollars, attended the forum. Some of them also made presentations to the president about their companies. President Zardari said the Chinese had indigenously developed their parameters of progress, from which Pakistan would like to learn. 'It is something for the whole world to learn.' President Zardari said that it was his dream that Pakistan should become a gateway for Chinese exports to world markets because his country's ports were nearer than China's own water fronts. He said from some of Chinese cities, it took over three weeks for the export material to reach the nearest port. 'Pakistan can be a transit to all trade to and from China. Your strength is our strength and our strength is your strength.' President Zardari said he was personally monitoring all ongoing projects being carried out by Chinese engineers and experts in Pakistan, adding that he was holding regular meetings with Chinese ambassador in Islamabad. Pakistan's Ambassador in China Masood Khan accompanied the president.-'APP