Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project
sector: Energy | country: Pakistan
ADB should have been more actively involved with the environmental and resettlement aspects of the project even if the World Bank was responsible for these, as was noted in discussions with a World Bank mission. ADB had a total of seven different project officers throughout the project’s duration, and this was detrimental to overall project coordination. Furthermore, coordination among financers could have been more efficient, if a mechanism was established for regular meetings among financers. Coordination among financers was done informally.
The availability of counterpart funds needs to be guaranteed more fully to avoid implementation delays, and ADB assistance to the power sector in the country should take this into account.
The environmental aspects are mainly positive, in that they obviate the need for a comparably sized (thermal) generation plant and thereby reduce the damaging atmospheric impacts of such plants. However, as demonstrated in the project, reducing the potential social impacts to manageable levels is also possible, through rigorous evaluation of alternatives and public consultation and awareness building. In this context, the selection of the final power channel alignment (and the conscious decision to avoid existing villages and settlements, even at somewhat higher costs) and locations of the barrage and powerhouse deserve to be highlighted. These decisions substantially reduced the scale of the resettlement and relocation under the project without adversely affecting its economic and financial viability.