MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday instructed the Water and Power Development Authority to complete the Neelum-Jhelum hydel project by 2015.
Talking to the media following a brief visit to the site of the project, Prime Minister Nawaz said concerned authorities had sought time till 2016 for the completion of project, conditional to availability of financial resources. He added that he told them the government would provide the money needed but the project must be functional by 2015. He said that the government would slash non-developmental expenditure to provide money for the mega project.
Nawaz regretted that such projects were not given due attention in the past due to vested interests.
“Almost 29 years have passed, but the project is still incomplete,” he exclaimed, observing that no one had thought to question the gross negligence that had led to such a delay. He expressed astonishment that the price of a project that initially cost around Rs40 billion had ballooned to around Rs275 billion.
“Who is responsible for this misappropriation? No one has thought to ask previous governments, who chose to protect their own interests over accomplishing national projects like the Neelum-Jhelum hydel plant,” the premier maintained. The power issue could have been resolved if such projects were given priority in the past, he added.
“We are fully committed to completing such projects and are dedicating each minute to giving relief to the masses… The whole nation is under stress due to the energy crisis, but our government will use all resources available to put Pakistan back on the track of economic stability,” he told reporters, adding that the government will announce its energy policy within a couple of weeks.
Nawaz said the government would ask the nation for contributions to implement the energy policy and expressed optimism that both the government and the nation would resolve the power crisis together.
“Our first priority is to overcome the energy crisis and provide cheap electricity to the people of Pakistan,” the premier reiterated.
Replying to a question, Nawaz said lack of economic growth and rising poverty were among the main issues fuelling terrorism. He condemned the recent terrorist attacks and urged the nation not to fear such acts. “We will defeat the terrorists while making our country economically stable and sound.” However, the premier asserted that the government would end terrorism using ‘its own hands’.
Meanwhile, Nawaz said that a high-level government delegation will meet Chinese officials in Beijing on June 24 to finalise the modalities for the construction of a railway track and motorway from Khunjerab to Gwadar and Karachi.
“The Khunjerab Motorway and Railway track will guide Pakistan into becoming an economic leader in the region. South Asian countries like Pakistan, China and India are the future of the world and we will try to fulfill the dream of making our country economically stable,” he concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ