Tajik President Emomali Rahmon officially started the construction of the Rogun Dam, the presidential press service reported on October 29, 2016. The official ceremony was held in Rogun, 100 kilometres from the capital Dushanbe. Speaking at the ceremony Rakhmon called the start of construction «the achievement of the year.»
Rogun is a vast proposed undertaking that has its roots in the Soviet period. With the outbreak of the civil in the 1990s, the project was put on the back-burner.
In the early 2000's Dushanbe thought its had found the needed investment to resume work after they signed an agreement in 2004 with the Russian conglomerate Rusal.
But mutual differences led to the dissolution of that deal in 2009. The government subsequently announced it was nationalizing the project and that it would source the funding itself.
The agreement to design, source material and build the hydroelectric power plant will set Tajikistan back $3.9 billion.
The project is broken down into 4 components, with the most expensive one involving the building of a 335-meter-high rockfill dam — the tallest in the world — which will entail costs of around $1.95 billion.
Authorities say the Rogun Dam will be able to provide electricity for the whole country. They say the dam could also provide parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan with cheap electricity.
In the beginning of July 2016, Tajikistan announced that Italian company Salini Impregilo had won a $3.9 billion contract to build the Rogun dam.
The Rogun plant is slated to start generating power by late 2018.
The dam, which sits on a river that serves as an important source of irrigation for the Uzbek agricultural sector, could undermine the countries' efforts to mend their relationship.
On July 19, 2016, Uzbek´s Prime Minister Mirziyoyev passed a letter along to Tajikistan’s prime minister Rasulzoda.
In it, Mirziyoyev writes that the World Bank believes Rogun could bring «large-scale threats to the entire region.» The prime minister added that the project is but a leftover of «Soviet megalomania,» with Dushanbe causing «anxiety» with the «risky steps» taken toward Rogun’s construction.
Uzbekistan always expressed concerns that the dam could be ruptured by an earthquake and worries that filling the dam will deprive its agriculture sector of irrigation water — both potentially calamitous outcomes.
To read this news in Russian.