DUSHANBE, November 27, Asia-Plus - The damming of the Vakhsh River in connection with the construction of Santuda-1 power plant set for November 30 may possibly be postponed to a later term, a high-ranking official with the Ministry of Energy (MoE) remarked in an interview with Asia-Plus.  He links the postponement to a number of technical reasons.  

            According to him, a working meeting of the ministry’s board with participation of representatives from Russia’s Unified Energy Systems (RAO YeES) that was held in Dushanbe today reviewed a schedule of the possible power cutoff in the country.  The meeting also discussed a draft agreement on realization of electricity that will be generated by Sangtuda-1 power plant, which is expected to be finished in April 2009.  

The source noted that the river is dammed in connection with the construction of generators’ room at the plant.  “The damming of the river will lead to cutoff of electricity supplies to major part of the country,” the MoE official noted.   

According to him, they have reached some 40 percent of a total volume of work on the plant since April 2005, when the construction of the plant officially commenced.   "The plant will have a 71-meter high fill dam,” the source said, adding that at present to dam the river they ought to bring the dam to 25 meters.  “We have already started the work on damming the river but for technical reasons the work has been suspended,” the MoE official said.  According to him, 2,000 Tajik and Russian specialists are currently working on the site for Sangtuda-1 power plant.    

 We will recall that Tajikistan and Russia signed a protocol in Dushanbe in January last year to complete the construction of Sangtuda-1 hydropower station on the Vakhsh River.  RAO YeES is funding the project, which costs US$482 million.  RAO YeES owns 75 percent of the shares and Tajikistan assumes the 25% in the plant.  The MoE says Tajikistan has invested more than 100 million U.S. dollars in Sangrutda-1, which will have the capacity of 670 megawatt.