LAHORE - Loadshedding will continue till Dec 2009, as power crisis is unlikely to come to an end before the end of the next year. This was stated by Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf here on Monday at a press briefing he held after addressing the inaugural session of 20th International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. The Minister told the reporters that construction work on Bhasha-Diamir Dam would start in September 2009, adding that government's main focus was hydropower generation to ensure cheaper electricity to the consumers. While responding to a question, he flayed previous military government for providing subsidies on electricity and oil and added that his democratic government was doing its best to withdraw such subsidies. "A rise of Rs 172b in the debts to power generation and oil marketing companies was witnessed due to provision of subsidy on power and non-increase in the tariffs by the previous govt," Raja Pervaiz reiterated. He said several small hydropower projects, having total capacity of 50,000 MW are in the pipeline, stressing that President Asif Ali Zardari had also directed the authorities concerned to work mainly on hydropower projects on war footing. He said the government would also start constructing other dams for which experts were being consulted at the highest level with a view to increasing hydropower generation, and it would prove to be a major breakthrough with respect to power crisis. About new power projects he pointed out that those would definitely taken up sometime to generate power to their full capacity. He asked the people to cooperate with the government, which was striving to end the crisis permanently. While talking about Baglihar Dam, he said Pakistan has full right over Chenab waters and it must received at least 55,000 cusecs water in Chenab at Head Marala, asserting that any project, which affects the river flow to Pakistan, will not be acceptable. He maintained that Pakistan reserved the right to go to any international forum to seek the water problems resolution. Giving details about the government measures for generating energy from alternate resources, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said Pakistan's first Windmill Project is being executed by a Turkish company along the coastal-line of Badin and it would start functioning within next two or three weeks. He stressed that apart from hydel power projects, govt was doing its utmost to get energy from Thal Coal Project and added that work on this main project would start at the end of the year. He further said that government was mulling to operate streetlights and industrial boilers with solar energy. Pakistan National Committee on ICID in cooperation with Wapda had organised the weeklong event to discuss the theme: "Participatory Integrated Water Resource Management-From Concepts to Actions.