MIRPUR: Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said that the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)-based Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project an important one for generation of low-cost and environment-friendly electricity in the country.
“The government is making concrete efforts towards completion the project of national significance on time,” said Ali during his visit to the 969MW Neelum-Jhelum project in AJK.
He said that the government was exploring all possible avenues to solve the energy crisis under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“It is his utmost desire to provide maximum relief to the common man by way of availability of affordable electricity,” said Ali while adding that optimum development of renewable sources of energy was being focused by the government which includes hydel, coal, wind, solar and biomass.
He said that the country possessed an identified potential of more than 60,000 MW of hydropower generation, adding that the phased induction of this potential would even out the energy mix, lower power tariff and provide relief to the common man.
Meanwhile, speaking about the Diamer Basha Dam and Dasu Hydropower Project, he said that the work on both projects would commence together with Bunji Hydropower Project.
“All these projects would add a total of 15,000 MW of cheap and environment-friendly electricity to the national grid,” said Ali.
Expressing his satisfaction at the pace of work, Ali claimed the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project will start generating power by the end of 2015.
Wapda Chairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah briefed the minister concerning the progress on the project. He assured earnest efforts to complete the project in line with the directions of the prime minister.
Shah said that upon completion, the Neelum-Jhelum 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.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2013.