PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Monday said projects initiated in the hydel power sector are constitutionally protected and will receive required funds for their completion regardless of which government is in power.
Projects are often scrapped as successive governments push for their own choice of development plans. Hussain, however, said 24 hydel power projects with production capacity of 2,004 megawatts will be completed in the next 10 years in the province and funds for them released as and when needed.
“Power produced from hydel projects in K-P will be added to the national grid station from where it will be further distributed in the country on certain terms and conditions,” Hussain said at a news conference held to brief the media about the government’s performance in the power and energy sector.
“We are also thinking about the possibility of having our own [provincial] power grid station to serve as a full fledged power production and distribution facility instead of relying on the national grid station.”
In what was a possible reference to the Kalabagh Dam issue, Hussain said the time for constructing big dams had passed and the province was working on projects which would produce power without harming people.
He said the 24 hydel projects are expected to fetch Rs74 billion in annual revenue.
Senior provincial Minister for Planning and Development Rahimdad Khan said the province had the capacity to produce around 30,000 MW, which “would be fully harnessed.”
“The entire hydel development action plan has been included in Annual Development Programme for 2012-13,” said Khan, adding that work had been started on all the projects and was in different phases of planning.
Energy and Power Secretary Zafar Iqbal said the department is mandated to look after hydel, oil and gas, and renewable energy sectors in K-P. Prior to the 18th Amendment, the provincial government was not taken on board by the federal government regarding execution of hydropower projects, but “now under Article 157(3), provinces are empowered to take up disputes related to electricity in the Council of Common Interests.”
Iqbal also apprised journalists about the government’s action plans, some of which are expected to be implemented by successive governments. According to the short-term plan, Daral Khawar (36MW), Ranolia (17MW) and Machai (2,6MW) are to be completed in the next three years. In the medium-term plan, eight projects will be completed in the next five years, while 13 projects will be completed in the next 10 years in the long-term.
Daral Khawar, Matlitan in Swat and Lawi hydel project in Chitral have already been launched by the provincial administration, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2012.
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