Govt determined to end outages by ’18


THE NATION, Lahore, 26th SEPTEMBER 2013:- Minister of State for Water and Power Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali has directed WAPDA to ensure that Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project starts generating electricity by the end of 2015 in line with the directions of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
He asked WAPDA to expedite construction work on the project, adding that meeting of timelines by the concerned organizations is a key to overcoming the challenge of power outages in the country, said a press release.
The Minister expressed these views during his 2-day visit to the Neelum- Jhelum Hydropower Project located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He was accompanied by a delegation of Saudi Development Fund and Islamic Development Bank during the visit.
Chairman WAPDA Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project Lt. General (R) Muhammad Zubair, representatives of the consultants and contractors and senior officers of WAPDA were also present on the occasion.
During the visit, the Minister had a detailed round of the various sites including powerhouse, transformers hall and the weir (dam) to witness the progress on the project. He also observed the operation of Tunnel Boring Machines deployed at the project.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that energy security figured at top of the federal government’s agenda, saying that the country’s economic and industrial development suffered a great deal due to energy deficits. He, however, added that PML-N’s government is determined to rid the country of the menace of load-shedding by 2018.
He said that National Power Policy 2013 has all answers to the raging energy problem as it incorporates short, medium and long-term measures to revamp and bolster the country’s power system. He said that Pakistan’s future lies in low-cost hydel power generation as the country possessed an identified potential of about 60,000 MW.
He said that phased increase of hydropower in the national grid to the tune of 12,850 MW over a period of 5-7 years will not only make low cost energy available but also reduce dependence on the costly thermal source of power generation.
He said the federal government is exploring all available options including hydel, coal, solar and biomass to produce low-cost energy to meet the country’s development needs. Referring to the generous support by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, he thanked the Saudi Development Fund for providing additional US $ 100 million for Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project.
Earlier, Chairman WAPDA during a briefing apprised the Minister about the progress on the project. He said that in line with Prime Minister’s directions WAPDA is making all out efforts to complete the project. He said that work on all sites is progressing satisfactorily and overall progress on the project stands at 51pc. Out of total 67-km tunnels, about 40 km long tunnels (about 59pc) have so far been excavated, while excavation of underground power house stands at 90.6pc and transformers hall at 100pc, he added.
The Chairman said that on completion, NJHPP will contribute 5.15 billion units of electricity to the national grid every year, adding that annual benefits to be accrued from the project have been estimated at about Rs. 45 billion. He apprised the Minister of the financial issues of the project and sought his support for their resolution. He also requested the Minister to get the laying of transmission line expedited by NTDC.
The consultants and the contractor also apprised the Minister of various issues relating to the project. The Minister directed Chairman WAPDA to resolve all issues in a week. He said that he himself would review progress on the project on monthly basis.

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