By Kamila Aliyeva
Normalization of Tajik-Uzbek relations and attraction of foreign investments may allow the government of Tajikistan to complete the Rogun hydro power plant (HPP), the world's tallest dam, analysts of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) believe.
"The plans of Tajik government to complete the construction of the Rogun hydroelectric power station received additional impetus. Along with the normalization of Tajik-Uzbek relations, the $500 million raised in the international capital market may allow the Italian contractor not only to catch up with the schedule, but also to complete the construction of the first stage of the Rogun HPP at the end of 2018," according to the macroeconomic overview of the EDB Chief Economist Group.
The placement of Eurobonds on the international market in September this year in order to raise funds for financing the construction of the Rogun HPP can support the restoration of investment growth in the near future, the authors of the review said.
The government of Tajikistan, which has suffered from electricity shortages for years, makes all possible efforts to complete the construction of dam that will solve the country’s energy problem.
By implementing the project, Tajikistan will be able to generate about 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This will not only help the country to meet its domestic needs but also turn Tajikistan into a major exporter of electricity.
Approximately $4 billion is needed to complete the major energy project. About 2 billion somoni ($227,2 million) have been allocated from the state budget for the completion of the hydroelectric power station this year.
Therefore, the Tajik authorities decided to issue securities worth $1 billion for the completion of the Rogun HPP. At the first stage, bonds worth $500 million were put up for sale on the world markets.
The dam should form a large Rogun reservoir with a total volume of 13.3 cubic meters. The project is criticized because of the location in the zone of high seismicity, landslide and mudflow processes, and the presence of a tectonic fault filled with rock salt under the base of the dam.
Uzbekistan has previously openly opposed the project. The country was speaking against the project during the tenure of former President Islam Karimov, demanding an expert examination of the hydroelectric project under the aegis of the UN.
The Rogun HPP will dam the Vakhsh river, which is a major tributary to the Amu Darya river, one of the region's two major water courses. The neighboring countries cautioned water could be diverted from their cotton and wheat fields. Uzbekistan claimed that water flows would be seriously decreased in case the dam is built. However, the World Bank assessment gave the go-ahead to the major project.
The Italian company Salini Impregilo is engaged in the construction of the Rogun power plant. Last October, Tajikistan launched work on the construction of a rock embankment dam, 335 meters high and $1.95 billion worth. The cost of the entire hydro power station is $3.9 billion.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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