It is the Tajik government's answer to decades of energy shortages.
Rogun hydropower plant sits 110km (68
miles) east of the capital,
For a mountainous country with thousands of glaciers but no hydrocarbons, harnessing the power of water is the obvious solution.
It has relied on an outdated Soviet system in which the Central Asian states are connected via a regional power grid.
In November 2009
external source of electricity.
Now more than ever, the government is determined to ensure its energy self-sufficiency.
last 10 years we've endured severe energy shortages. We put computers in
classrooms but children can't use them because there is no power,"
"The future of our economy and the answer to the country's social problems is linked to Rogun."
The construction of Rogun began in Soviet times but the project stalled after the collapse of communism.
To complete the
first stage - producing electricity for local consumption -
With a state budget of just over $1bn, President Emomali Rahmon has appealed to the nation to buy into the project, urging every family to buy shares worth nearly $700 (£470).
Buying shares has become an act of patriotism.
"Rogun is not only a source of light, but a national honour and dignity," the president said in his address to the nation in early January.
Posters advertising Rogun and asking people to buy shares can be seen all over the country.
Schoolchildren are being taught about Rogun's importance, universities are organising rallies in support of the dam and state TV has broadcast programmes praising the project.
According to the ministry of finance, more than $170m has been raised since the campaign started in January.
But critics say
it could further weaken
And despite the government's claim that the scheme is voluntary, there is evidence that people are being forced to buy shares.
"I went to see a doctor to get a sick note, but the doctor said I had to prove that I purchased Rogun shares before I would get served," complained one taxi driver.
are also expected to invest large sums. A waiter in one of
The lack of transparency over where the money is coming from is raising concern in the international community.
"The general extortion is a fact. From the development prospective it is making poverty worse. It is forcing everyone to be even more corrupt," a Western diplomat told the BBC.
And there is
another problem -
In an open letter to the Tajik government in February, Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev demanded that international experts be allowed to study Rogun's seismic safety and its potential environmental impact.
"The Rogun hydropower plant project was developed almost 40 years ago, it's an outdated projectů it is hard to conceive the scale of the humanitarian disaster were the dam to be breached," Mr Mirziyayev wrote.
And as one of
the world's leading cotton producers,
"The water flow to the downstream countries during the growing season will not be affected. This reservoir will not be filled in one year. We will be doing it gradually - it will take 15 years to fill it," Mr Akilov said.
In recent weeks,
both countries have engaged in an information war. The Uzbek media describe
This month, the
World Bank said it would help
Sitting in his
overcoat in an office with no heating, Georgiy Petrov, a hydro-energy expert who planned the Rogun project in the 1970s, says
"When it was planned irrigation in downstream countries was considered. But the problems began when all these countries became independent. We have five countries and for each country national interest is a priority," Mr Petrov said.
He said that
"Instead of elbowing each other the Central Asian states should work together," he said.
When the Central
Asian states were part of the
government says the dam will start producing electricity by 2012. It hopes the
World Bank study will reassure