Speech by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Leader of Nation, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon in Vakhsh River Diversion Ceremony
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Today we are gathered here to start the construction of the Roghun HPP dam, which is one of the important phases of the construction of this grand facility.
Every resident of Tajikistan has been looking forward to this glorious day and the patriots of our country � highly qualified specialists and constructors worked hard day and night to make this day.
Thus, today is the day of light and establishment of the main foundation to achieve national dreams and ensure bright future of our beloved Tajikistan.
Therefore, it is a great honor for me to extend my congratulation to all noble people of Tajikistan, particularly you � esteemed constructors of Roghun HPP, designers and builders, engineers and technical staff of this life-changing project of our homeland, as well as managers and specialists of all local and foreign companies and particularly the Major Contractor for Dam construction � Salini Impregilo on the occasion of this landmark event.
In the nearest future every resident of our country will benefit from your hard efforts since our compatriots' houses will be supplied with the light generated at this plant to be created by your hard work.
Therefore, I am fully confident that all residents of our country are overwhelmed with feeling of gratitude and pride of your creative efforts, brave constructors.
It is very symbolic that this landmark event is taking place at the 25th anniversary of our State Independence and this is the best achievement of our noble people in this year.
As you are aware, our country's 25 year history was full of contradictions and challenges, win and loss, success and failure.
Despite all challenges, we have been able to ensure the dynamic and sustainable socio-economic development of our country thanks to the sincere support and hard efforts of our patriotic and strong-minded people.
Nevertheless, we still have some challenges remaining in the socio-economic development pathway of our nation and society, solution of which is very important for the future development of our beloved country and improvement of living standards of our people, and we are obliged to undertake collective efforts to achieve this objective.
One of these challenges is the lack of electricity in autumn and winter.
As everybody is aware, we do not have sufficient reserves of gas and oil and sources of fuel extraction and processing, but we have huge hydropower resources, which are our national wealth and their effective use can increase our opportunities to ensure our country's sustainable economic growth and strengthening of its export capacity by several times.
Despite the availability of its huge potential, our country has been facing the severe lack of electric power during autumn and winter for many years, which has been causing significant socio-economic challenges.
There were some years, when people of our country had only one or two hours of power per day and some days were fully left without electricity in the coldest periods.
Vitally important institutions like schools, hospitals and industrial enterprises did not operate. This definitely negatively affected the people's living standards, economic development and social welfare.
To this end, the Government has identified the energy security as one of the national priorities and has been mobilizing all possible resources and possibilities to achieve this objective.
We attach priority attention to supply of the country with power and heating on one hand by rehabilitation of the existing power plants and launch of new capacities, energy loss reduction, effective use of power and introduction of energy efficiency technologies and, on the other hand, by focusing on effective water use management in the region.
Implementation of several important projects on energy development shows the hard work and efforts of the Government, as a result of which the electricity shortage has significantly reduced and people's living standards improved by several times.
Overall, during 25 years of independence we commissioned new energy facilities with the capacity of over 1300 MW.
During the independence we have allocated 26 bn TJS (over three billion USD) from all sources with a view to developing the energy sector and properly maintaining the energy facilities and infrastructure.
Thus, we invested 8.6 bn TJS (1.225 bn USD) to commission new generation capacities, 3.5 bn TJS (500 mln USD) to construct new energy infrastructure, power transmission lines and substations and almost 1.5 bn TJS (over 200 mln USD) to rehabilitate, reconstruct and equip the existing networks, eliminate emergency situations and introduce power metering.
Currently, alongside with activities implemented with the use of local resources, six public investment projects amounting 4.8 bn TJS, including construction of new generation capacities (2.7 bn TJS), new infrastructure (one billion TJS) and rehabilitation and renovation of existing facilities and networks (900m TJS) are under way.
We have invested over 12.5 bn TJS for rehabilitation and construction activities in the Roghun HPP during the independence period.
We have spent over 650 mln TJS so far to rehabilitate the Norak HPP (replacement of two blade wheels (runners) and rehabilitation and renovation of its infrastructure).
In addition to this, we will channel 36 bn TJS (over four billion USD) from the public budget and foreign investments to achieve energy security.
This year, we will start the rehabilitation of Sarband power plant amounting 1.1bn TJS and next year � the second phase of rehabilitation of Norak HPP amounting three billion TJS and Kayrokkum HPP amounting 600 m TJS.
In the nearest days, we will commission the second phase of the Dushanbe-2 thermal power plant, which alongside with power generation will also supply the residents of our capital city with heating.
Indeed, this will be another serious step towards our energy security. However, as I outlined several times, it is impossible to ensure energy security without construction of the Roghun HPP.
The Roghun HPP's dam with the height of 335 m will be the highest rockfill dam in the world with the capacity of 3600 MW (over 17 bn kW/h) and the largest hydropower plant in the region. It will be 1.5 times larger than the Norak HPP in terms of capacity.
Construction of such a huge and unique facility of the Roghun HPP, which is a life-changing project for Tajikistan, will require special technical, engineering and financial methods and procedures of implementation.
Therefore, I would like to emphasize that construction of the Roghun HPP is not an easy job and will not be completed within one or two years.
The experience of the Norak HPP construction, which took 18 years, showed that creation of such a grand facility requires certain time to meet its construction technology requirements and fill up its reservoir step by step.
It should be outlined that the Roghun HPP project is consistent with the world community's efforts to transfer to green economy, the core of which is the use of renewable energy sources and its implementation will make it possible to reduce emission of hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon gas.
In view of this, we committed to construct this vitally important facility with the use of the best latest technologies meeting international standards of quality and safety.
This is the very reason that after completion of the project's feasibility study and its social and environmental impact assessment, by announcing an international tender we have invited leading international companies to participate in construction of this hydropower plant and the tender winner � the Italian Company of Salini-Impregilo, which is one of the most experienced companies in construction of hydraulic facilities in the international arena, has already begun its activities for construction of the hydropower plant's dam.
Thus, this very Company will construct the Roghun HPP dam.
Another reputable institution � the French Company of Tractable Engineering, which has great experience in consulting and engineering, is in charge of supervision of the construction process and serving as the Customer representative.
I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to wish success to all local and international companies working hardly in construction of the hydropower plant.
At present, almost 15000 specialists and workers and over 2100 pieces of vehicles and machinery are mobilized for the construction of this century's milestone facility.
As I have already mentioned, we will attach a priority attention to quality of works, construction materials and assurance of international safety standards.
Therefore, we have imported and have been applying the best latest equipment to test the quality and control the construction works and future operation of the hydropower plant.
We will launch the first phase of the Roghun HPP, particularly its first turbine at the end of 2018 and its second turbine in April 2019 and transfer its product to the country's energy grid.
Thus, the hydropower plant will start generating power in December 2018 and the Roghun light will be accessible to every household in Tajikistan, by which we will make our final steps towards energy security.
Another issue, which requires a specific attention, is the Project's regional importance. The Roghun facility with the capacity of 3600 MW and a reservoir of 13.3 bn m3 of water indeed can play a significant role in addressing water and energy issues in the region.
Construction of energy facilities on rivers of Tajikistan first and foremost will be aimed at ensuring the balance between the water and energy issues and in the nearest future will become the only way to reduce harm and manage low-water and abundant water seasons in the midstream and downstream of Amudarya river.
These facilities will make it possible to ensure irrigation of the used agricultural lands and development of new lands in the downstream countries.
The studies conducted by the World Bank experts and internationally prominent scholars and experts prove this statement.
Accordingly, with a view to properly taking into account the interests of the countries of the region, we applied to the World Bank in 2007 to conduct international studies and spent the following seven years for negotiations and studies and research of this important facility.
We involved the world's best experts through two consulting companies and a group of independent experts in this process, who studied various aspects of the project through consultations and research and arrangement of special sessions with the participation of the riparian countries and provided their recommendations.
As a result, in 2014 the Project's feasibility study as well as its social and environmental assessment confirmed the feasibility of the construction of the Roghun HPP.
Now, in the context of growing harm of devastating consequences of the climate change to environment, as well as the shortage of water, construction of hydropower plants would be a wise and effective, as well as beneficial and harmless solution for water and energy resources use.
We need to remember that particularly the construction of new small and large hydropower plants will make it possible to not only eliminate the shortage of power, but also ensure water supply to all downstream countries of the region during drought periods.
In this regard, through implementation of energy programs we would like to make our resources available for all residents of the Central Asian region, because electric power export through interstate grids and regular water supply would be beneficial for all countries of the region.
Tajikistan, from the very beginning of its independence, has been always attaching priority attention to regional cooperation, particularly with its neighboring countries and considers this approach as the only way of solution to all challenges.
Therefore, we have repeatedly stated and I would like to once again reiterate that we stand for efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of the region in terms of implementation of water and energy plans.
Such an approach is a vital requirement and attaches great responsibility to each of us before the future generations.
In view of this, I would like to address all fraternal peoples of Central Asia and emphasize that the Tajik people have lived with their neighbors in a peaceful environment of mutual understanding and cooperation for many centuries.
I would like to declare with full responsibility that by continuing this noble tradition of our ancestors, we will never leave our neighbors without water.
In addition, I would like to reiterate once again that through mobilization of local and foreign investments, we stand ready to implement a Project on supply of the peoples of the Central Asian countries with excellent quality water of Sarez Lake, which will be sufficient for the peoples of the region forever.
We established mutually beneficial cooperation and good neighborliness relations in various aspects, particularly water and energy, transport and other areas with the countries of the region, including fraternal and friendly Uzbekistan and it is our firm belief that all important issues of our bilateral relations will be addressed in the spirit of mutual understanding, and for the interest of our peoples.
Today, Tajikistan is in the phase of implementation of its constructive and welfare oriented objectives, particularly construction of small and large hydropower facilities.
Our main objective from implementation of these constructive initiatives is first and foremost to ensure our country's energy security and at the same time we intend to expand the process of industrialization of our country and thereby create thousands of jobs, increase Tajikistan's export capacity and address the social issues.
It stands to reason, because the building of the independent state of Tajiks in the rapidly changing world of the beginning of the third millennium should have its own unique image and the people of Tajikistan need to fulfill their responsibility with honor before the past history and the future of the nation.
In conclusion, I would like to outline that all of our achievements in energy development and overall in all aspects of life are the fruits of independence and the Tajik nation everyday makes firm steps towards full energy security in a peaceful atmosphere of unity and stability.
It is my firm belief that our people is capable of making even greater achievements and will further make dedicated efforts for the sake of development of our state, welfare of our motherland and peaceful life in every household in our country.
By expressing these good wishes I would like to once again extend my heartfelt congratulations to all people of Tajikistan and you, distinguished participants, as well as partner companies and constructors on the occasion of today's historical event and wish happiness and welfare to every citizen of our country and further prosperity and progress to our beloved Tajikistan.
I wish continued health, good luck and greater achievements to the courageous constructors of the Roghun HPP, which is the life-changing facility and the symbol of our national honor.
I wish you health and success, distinguished compatriots.
Source: National information agency of Tajikistan