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Wapda Inks Rs46.5 Million Deal to Digitize and 3D Model Rock Carvings Threatened by Diamer Basha Dam

The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has entered into a Rs46.5 million cultural preservation agreement aimed at digitizing and creating 3D models of significant rock carvings within the impact zone of the upcoming Diamer Basha Dam.

This eight-month contract, signed in Lahore, involves extensive site documentation using terrestrial scanners, as well as the consolidation, archiving, and modeling of scanned data for various applications, including 3D printing.

Wapda has partnered with Quality Solutions Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, which will offer consultancy services for the project.

The agreement was signed by General Manager of the Diamer Basha Dam Project (Wapda), Nazakat Hussain, and Director of Business Development at Quality Solutions Technologies, Saad Ahmed Khan, in a ceremony held recently. Also present were notable figures such as Member (Water) Wapda Jawaid Akhtar Latif, CEO of Diamer Basha Dam Company Amir Bashir Chaudhry, Adviser to Wapda on Cultural Heritage Management Feryal Ali Gauhar, and Chief Engineer (Contracts) of Diamer Basha Dam Project Abdur Rashid.

The Diamer Basha Dam, situated in northern Pakistan, stands amidst a region rich in cultural heritage, including numerous rock carvings. To meet national and international obligations, Wapda is executing its Cultural Heritage Management Plan in the area surrounding the Diamer Basha Dam Project.

The plan aims to safeguard prehistoric rock carvings and inscriptions that will be submerged in the water reservoir of Diamer Basha Dam, establish a museum, and promote cultural tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan, especially in Chilas and its neighboring areas.

Experts have expressed concerns that the construction of the Diamer Basha Dam poses a threat to tens of thousands of rock engravings in the Diamer region of Gilgit-Baltistan, some of which date back to 8,000 BCE.

Diamer district boasts one of the largest known concentrations of rock engravings, with many found along the banks of the Indus River.

Feryal Ali Gauhar, the lead consultant for cultural heritage management at Diamer Basha Dam, notes that over 50,000 rock carvings and 5,000 inscriptions trace a timeline from the Epipaleolithic period to the era of Buddhism. The earliest petroglyphs depict ibex and sheep.

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