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Jinnah hydropower project delay causes losses

At a time when the country is facing power shortages of more than 6,000 MW, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has chosen to delay the Jinnah hydropower project, laments the Punjab Water Council (PWC) in a statement issued here Tuesday.

Farmers are continuously at the receiving end as far as power outages and the high cost of power are concerned, said PWC Chief Hamid Malhi. “Public-sector institutions have failed to utilise indigenous resources for generating cheap electricity. Continuous mismanagement by Wapda over the last three decades has reversed the hydel-thermal energy mix ratio of 7:3 to 3:7 due to continued reliance on IPPs and RPPs instead of cheap hydel power,” he observed.

Talking about the 96 MW Jinnah project that is being set up on the Indus River, he said its commissioning was planned in February 2010. However, the project has still not been completed, he said. “It is expected that the cost of the project will rise due to this delay. It is high time that institutions such as Wapda are made accountable for the losses caused due to project delay,” said Malhi.

It is unfortunate that only 59 percent of the population has access to grid electricity and this level drops to 27 percent in the case of rural areas, he said. The delay in completing Jinnah barrage is intentional as top Wapda management seems least interested in completing the project, alleged Malhi.

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