ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday expressing concern over delay in the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, directed the Ministry of Water and Power and WAPDA to work out financial plan in consultation with Finance Ministry to expedite the project.
Chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on mega power projects at the PM House, the Prime Minister issued directive to remove bottlenecks in the country’s mega hydel power projects and asked the Energy Committee headed by the Finance Minister to meet fortnightly. The Prime Minister also asked the Energy Committee to prepare a two-year work plan for the power projects.
He observed that mismanagement must be checked to improve the efficiency of these projects as they were the lifeline of national economy.
He added that it was the strong resolve of the government to complete the projects already in pipeline so that their benefits could start reaching the people as soon as possible.
He said keeping in view the escalating cost of thermal power projects, the only viable way is to start hydel power projects that would provide relief to the public at large.
The Prime Minister directed that Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs be included in the energy committee in order to increase the level of coordination for the hydel projects in AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Prime Minister expressed dissatisfaction on the delay in executing the Kohala Hydropower Project of 1100 MW generation capacity and directed that it should be expedited and pre-project procedure could be completed by the end of this year.
He expressed satisfaction over the recent talks between the experts of Pakistan and India on establishing back-to-back electricity grid between the two countries.
He said provided the modalities are appropriately worked out between the two counties, the proposed grid could contribute towards reducing the power shortage in both the countries in their long term usage.
The Prime Minister said he expected to meet the Indian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the SAARC conference in the Maldives, scheduled this month where he would also take up this mutually beneficial project with his counterpart.
Regarding Nandipur Thermal Power Project, the Prime Minister directed to complete it within stipulated time. He asked the Cabinet Committee on Energy to look into ways to further expedite the project.
The Prime Minister also instructed to start work on 1450MW Tarbella 4, expansion project without further delay to produce affordable electricity.
The Energy Committee was asked to implement the Cabinet decisions regarding energy conservation plan in the Federal Territory in letter and spirit.
He observed that Islamabad must be made a model city in respect of energy conservation plan so that the other federating units may also follow the example.
The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) apprised the meeting that the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project of 969 MW, with installed capacity was approved in 1989 by the ECNEC at the cost of Rs.15billion which was delayed, with its cost gooing up to Rs. 333.191 billion.
The meeting was briefed that a Tunnel Boaring Machine would be installed to accelerate the work and the project would be completed some 18 to 22 months ahead of its revised scheduled time.
About the Kohala Hydropower Project, the meeting was apprised that the feasibility study, detailed engineering, design and tender documents of 1100 MW project were complete.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 17.10.2008 in Beijing, between the Ministry of Water and Power and M/s China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) in this regard.
The meeting was told that the project was totally funded and there would be no investment from the Government of Pakistan. All formalities would be completed by the end of this year.
The meeting was apprised by the Secretary Water and Power about the progress on the Nandipur Thermal Power Project. He said that the project is of 425MW installed capacity combined Cycle Power Plant on Engineering, Procurement and Construction basis and the contract has been awarded to DEC China. Total cost of the project is US$329 million.
About the electricity back-to-back channel between Pakistan and India, the meeting was informed that the experts are in the process of finalization of the cost, end-user agreement and other modalities of the project.
A meeting of the expert from both the countries would be soon held in Pakistan in this regard.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Petroleum, Dr. Asim Hussain, Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, Secretaries Ministries of Water and Power, Finance, Law, Deputy Governor State Bank, WAPDA Chairman and other Senior Government Officials. (APP)