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DUSHANBE, January 23. /TASS/.Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon said on Friday it was strategically important for his country to achieve energy independence, noting that resolving this “number one problem” was possible only after construction of the Rogun hydroelectric power plant was finished.
The Tajik leader said in his annual address to the country’s parliament that besides completing the Rogun plant, a project which had drawn severe criticism from several Central Asian countries, there were plans to build a number of medium-sized hydropower plants. High hopes were pinned on Russia, which already built the Sangtuda-1 hydroelectric power plant south of Dushanbe and aimed to build another two hydropower stations on Tajikistan's internal rivers.
“In 2014, an assessment of our landmark project for construction of the Rogun hydropower plant, which lasted almost seven years under the auspices of the World Bank, was completed,” Rahmon said. “There is hope that with completion of construction work we will resolve the problem of energy deficit in the republic.”
Tajikistan’s decision to build the Rogun plant in the Pamir Mountains with a capacity of 3,600 MW and a 335-meter dam, the highest in the world, antagonized some of the countries in the region, primarily Uzbekistan, which feared the construction of the facility in a seismic area might cause a man-made and environment disaster.
In mid-2014, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia was ready to provide assistance in finishing the construction of Rogun. He noted that water management and distribution of water resources in the region was vital for Central Asian states which have signed about 150 agreements to resolve the issue.
The project to build the Rogun hydropower plant was conceived in the Soviet Union in 1978 and was based on cooperation between Soviet republics. In the post-Soviet period, cooperation dwindled and each country in the region has been pursuing its own water and energy policy.
In 2010, the World Bank undertook an independent assessment of the project to find out how safe it would be for all countries in the region.