Lahore : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday inaugurated the much-awaited Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project to inject 969 megawatt of electricity to national grid as a historic milestone to meet country’s growing power needs.
After unveiling the plaque, he made the first unit of the project functional by pressing a button in main control room.
The prime minister was accompanied by his cabinet members including Barjees Tahir, Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Syed Javed Shah, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Governor Punjab Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Chairman of WAPDA.
AJK President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Farooq Haider Khan were also present on the occasion.
The project would generate 5.150 billion units of electricity annually and generate Rs55 billion revenue which will increase in subsequent years.
Completed at cost of around $5 billion, the power project comprises four units with generation capacity of 242.25 MW each.
As first unit has been inaugurated on the day, this will follow the opening of one unit a month to make the project fully operational by mid of current year.
Being dubbed as a new wonder of Pakistan, the power project comprises three components including a dam, waterway system involving 52 kilometers long tunnels and an underground power house.
The project will also help save huge money to the national kitty in foreign exchange on import of oil to the extent of hydel generation. It will reduce dependence on thermal power.
Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company is the executing agency of the project on behalf of WAPDA and the government of Pakistan.
The project is a joint venture of five international and national firms as Neelum Jhelum Consultants including Montgomery Watson Harza (USA), Leading Firm, NORPLAN, Int (Norway), National Engineering Services (NESPAK), Pakistan, Associated Consulting Engineers (ACE), Pakistan and National Development Consultants (NDC), Pakistan.
The project was executed by Chinese consortium including China Gezhouba Group Company and China Machinery Engineering Company.
Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is a world class underground facility of immense national importance constructed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Being an environment friendly project, Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project would avoid the annual release of 2.5 million tons of CO2 from equivalent thermal plant.
During the construction, the project created 4,500 jobs besides leading to the socio-economic uplift of the area.
An amount of Rs5,237 million have been earmarked to execute the projects for environmental mitigation including girls high school, road, water supply schemes, recreational parks, grid station, basic health unit, bridges, water treatment schemes and water shed management.