Emomali Rakhmon called launch of Rogun Dam one of the most important events of 2018

Emomali Rakhmon called launch of Rogun Dam one of the most important events of 2018

In his address to the parliament of Tajikistan, President Emomali Rakhmon named three most important events of this year, including launch of the Rogun Dam's first unit. Launch of the second stage is scheduled for April of 2019. According to head of state, it's planned to spent almost 423 million dollars on it.

Emomali Rakhmon recalled that Tajikistan’s hydropower plant with a capacity of 1,500 kilowatts was commissioned in September of 2018, and its total cost reached 8.47 dollars. "Electricity in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region will be fully provided thanks to it. Right now we're carrying out technical study before construction of two more hydropower plants in this region - Sanobod and Sebzor - with a total capacity of 211 megawatts. We will continue to work to with international organizations to find and attract more investments," he said.

According to Rahmon, launch of the Rogun Dam's first stage is one of the most important events for the entire of Tajikistan. Its opening took place on November 16, on the same day as celebration of the President’s Day. Opening eremony, which took place in the hydropower plant’s machine room, was attended by representatives of foreign countries, in particular countries participating in the CASA-1000 project, international organizations, diplomats and journalists from the world's leading media.

Launch of the Rogun Dam's second unit will take place in 2019. The Rogun Dam with a capacity of 3,600 megawatts will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in the Central Asian region. Emomali Rakhmon noted in his message that "Tajik people patiently waited for nearly three decades for this event to come, so it certainly can be called historical."

"For Emomali Rahmon, the Rogun Dam is similar to pyramids  for Ancient Egyptian pharaohs. It defines his status and legitimacy, it's a demonstration of his superpowers when it comes to implementation of megaprojects, despite everything that's happening in the country, including lack of funds and hostile attitude of external influence," political scientist, deputy director general of the Strategic Forecast Center Igor Pankratenko told Vestnik Kavkaza.

Several years ago Dushanbe announced tender for the construction of the Rogun Dam, which has been won by the Italian company Salini Impregilo S.p.A. Funds for its construction were gatherd through sale of eurobonds. Initial revenue of this sale amounted to 500 million dollars.

However, according to Igor Pankrapenko, the main question - who needs the Rogun Dam that operated at full design capacity (producing 3,600 megawatts) - remains unanswered. “Beijing isn't interested in it, since it doesn’t match its vision of the Tajik section of the One Belt and One Road initiative in any way. Despite Rahmon's best efforts, Riyadh didn't agree to finance this mega-project. Tashkento is still against this project, the Uzbek side just doesn’t discuss it for the time being. Only Islamabad and New Delhi can be interested in it, but there are so many small issues that still must be resolved,” Pankratenko believes.

Expert believes that planned production of the Rogun Dam will be justified only if the electricity will be exported, especially since first two  units are enoguh to satisfy Tajikistan's needs. Considering Dushanbe's agreement with Tashkent on Uzbek side's participation in construction of two hydroelectric power stations with a capacity of 300 MW on the Zarafshan river, there should be no need for any other sources.

Everything else is just Rakhmon’s dream of making Tajikistan the largest exporter of electricity, especially if the CASA-1000 project will be implemented.