In related developments, an official of the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) told a parliamentary panel here on Wednesday that Japan has agreed to provide machinery and equipment worth $4 billion for the Diamer Bhasha Dam. While addressing the panel, he also said that Japan had agreed to cooperate in extending the power generation capacity of the Mangla dam.
While briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, the EAD official added that the US Agency for International Development had committed $200 million, and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) had committed $100 million for the Diamer Bhasha project.
During the briefing, the EAD official ruled out the impression that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had asked Pakistan to seek a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from India in order to go ahead with the project.
Senator Zahid Khan, who was chairing the Standing Committee, expressed reservations during the meeting over delays in the implementation of the Diamer Bhasha and Dasu dams. “If there is a problem in obtaining funds for the Bhasha dam, the Water and Power Development Authority should expedite work on the Dasu hydropower project,” Khan said.
The parliamentary panel has also sought an explanation for the slow pace of work on the Dasu power project from concerned authorities. The committee once again instructed water and power officials to expedite work on the Dasu and Diamer Bhasha dams, and to take concrete steps for the timely completion of these projects.
The panel asked officials of the EAD and the Ministry of Water and Power to arrange a meeting with the Foreign Minister, in order to devise a mechanism for obtaining funds for hydel power projects from the Friends of Democratic Pakistan; for which the group had earlier pledged financing.
The committee expressed reservations over lower power production from the Malakand hydel power plant, and pointed out certain flaws in the project. Senator Hamayun Khan Mandokhel said that the project was producing only 23 megawatts (MW) of electricity, in spite of its 81MW generation capacity.
The panel directed the Water and Power Secretary to investigate the reasons behind low power production from different generation projects and fix responsibility on officials, in case they are involved in negligence.
The committee expressed concerns over the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (Nepra) delayed determination of tariff for hydel power generation projects in the country. It asked the Nepra chairman to hold a meeting with the Private Power Infrastructure Board to devise a mechanism for immediate tariff determination and submit a report within 20 days, and to submit a report containing details of all tariff determination applications pending before the authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.
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