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Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project to be completed on time, says minister

All efforts are being made to complete the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project on time, said Minister of State for Water and Power, Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali on Tuesday.

“It is an important project for the generation of low-cost and environment friendly electricity in the country,” said Ali, adding that no compromise would be tolerated on the construction of the project with serious action to be taken against the contractor for any breach in quality.

During a visit to the project site in Azad Jammu and Kashmi, the minister said that the democratic government is exploring all possible avenues to solve the energy crisis. “It is the desire of the prime minister that maximum relief should be provided to the public through the availability of affordable electricity,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Water and Power is particularly focusing on the development of water and hydropower projects in the country.

Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali said the government is focusing on optimum development of renewable sources of energy particularly hydel, coal, wind, solar and biomass. “The government was not only launching new projects in the hydropower sector but also taking steps to expedite the construction work on ongoing projects.” He said that Wapda is working on a three-pronged strategy to harness the hydropower potential in the country under the directions of the federal government.

Further, he said, the country possesses an identified potential of more than 60,000 MW of hydropower generation and that the phased induction of this potential would even out the energy mix, lower power tariff and provide relief to the public.

“The government wants to start the Diamer-Basha Dam and Dasu Hydropower Project simultaneously and together with Bunji Hydropower Project, these projects would add a total of 15,000 MW of cheap and environment-friendly electricity to the national grid,” he added.

The Minister of State for Water and Power conducted a detailed visit of the various sites of the project including its powerhouse, transformers hall, and the weir (dam).

He also observed the operation of tunnel boring machines. he Minister said that it was his second visit to Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project, which is aimed at witnessing the pace of work to make sure that the project starts electricity generation by end of 2015 as directed by the prime minister.

Earlier, Wapda chairman briefed the Minister of State for Water and Power about the progress on the project. Upon completion, the Neelum Jhelum hydropower project would contribute 5.15 billion units of cheap electricity to the national grid and the annual benefits accruing from the project have been estimated at Rs45 billion, he added.

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