In a bid to holistically tackle the energy crisis, the government plans to spend over Rs208 billion on water and power sector projects in the coming financial year.
According to sources, a tentative plan will be tabled at the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) meeting scheduled on May 10.
In the proposal, an amount of Rs44.128 billion has been earmarked to be spent on water sector projects. Furthermore, the government plans to allocate another Rs164.25 billion to power sector projects.
The government will spend Rs78.2 billion on power directly, whereas the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) will arrange another Rs86.03 billion from its own resources to finance projects.
For the power sector, it has been recommended in the proposal that an amount of Rs78 billion be dedicated to hydel power projects. A major chunk will go to the 4,500MW Diamer-Basha dam; for which an amount of Rs22 billion has been earmarked for land acquisition for the project. The total cost for land acquisition has been estimated at Rs116.21 billion, while the total cost of construction for the Diamer-Bhasha Dam has been estimated at Rs834.205 billion. An allocation of Rs6.030 billion towards construction costs has also been proposed for the next financial year. There has been no commitment so far from foreign donors in proposed spending plans for this dam.
Another major project is the strategic Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project located in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), for which projected costs have gone up to Rs330 billion. Anomalously, in the spending plan, the cost of the project has been shown as Rs84.5 billion. An allocation of Rs27.2 billion has been sought for this project. Work on this project has been running behind schedule, but the government recently acquired two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in order to complete the project by 2016. Saudi Arabia is a sponsor for the project and, in a recent meeting of the Pakistan-China working group on energy, the Chinese side has also agreed to resume disbursement of a $450 million loan which it had earlier suspended.
In the water sector, the government will spend Rs42.66 billion on ongoing projects, and Rs1.46 billion on new water projects. An amount of Rs6 billon has been proposed for the raising of Mangla Dam, including resettlement costs. Total cost of the project has been estimated at Rs97.55 billion, and total expenditure will stand around Rs89.6 billion by the end of June 2012.
The government has also planned to build 100 small dams, and an amount of Rs520 million has been proposed for these projects. The same amount may be earmarked for the Kurram-Tangi Dam in North Waziristan, for which total cost has been projected at Rs17.2 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.
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