Since the government announced its intentions to continue developing the Stiegler's Gorge hydroelectric project at the Selous Game Reserve, there has been heated debate around the development.
Ecologists are opposing the project on grounds that its implementation could damage the World Heritage site, Tanzania Daily News reported.
However, during the meeting of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Poland last week, the government delegation gave the country's firm position to execute the project.
The permanent secretary in the natural resources and tourism ministry, Major General Gaudence Milanzi, led the government team.
Stiegler's Gorge hydroelectric project
The delegation consulted with senior officers of the World Heritage Centre and its advisory bodies on the matter and officially submitted a letter to the centre expressing the country's position, media reported.
Media cited a statement from the ministry stating that Milanzi argued before the committee that plans to build the dam have been on the government agenda since the 1960's.
The Selous Game Reserve is reported to cover 50,000 square kilometres with the proposed project expected to use a mere 3% of the area.
Milanzi maintained that the Selous Game Reserve was inscribed in the World Heritage List with the project on the table.
"It should be noted that at the time of inscribing the reserve in 1982, the International Union for Conservation of Nature considered that the Stiegler's Gorge project was of no serious environmental concern, given the vast size of the property," he argued.
He further pointed out that Tanzania has recently made a firm decision to industrialise the economy, significantly increasing the energy demand. Read more...
"Given the current power generation options, it has been imperative to reconsider Stigler's Gorge as the momentous power source," Milanzi stated.
He said at full capacity, the project would boost the total power production for the country by about 145%, media stated.
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