Tajikistan launches $ 4 billion dam world’s tallest dam

Rogun: Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon inaugurated what is expected to be the world's tallest hydro-electric power plant, a $3.9 billion project that will turn the impoverished authoritarian country into a key power producer in Central Asia.

In a colourful ceremony in the Pamir mountains, the Tajik leader pushed a large symbolic button to applause from the audience to mark the first of six turbines in the Rogun hydroelectric dam going online. "The long-held dream of our compatriots has been realised," said Rakhmon, who has ruled since 1992, before celebratory fireworks whistled through the evening air. "This historic event will be written into history with golden letters for the current and future generations."

Men in hard hats danced to songs about the dam and waved national flags. "Rogun is light, Rogun is glory!" went one of the songs. World Bank vice president for Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller said at the ceremony that Rogun would "help transform Tajikistan's economy, and create the foundation for a prosperous future".

The power plant is expected to reach capacity of 3,600 megawatts - the equivalent of three nuclear power plants - when it is completed in a decade. The dam will double energy production in the poor ex-Soviet country of nearly nine million people, alleviating a debilitating national energy deficit. Surplus energy will be sold to neighbours such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Built on the powerful Vakhsh River in southern Tajikistan, the plant is expected to reach a height of 335 metres (1,099 feet) when completed, becoming the world's tallest hydro-electric dam.


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