The Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, having capacity of 969 megawatt, is nearing completion whereby 82 per cent physical work is done with co-financing of China and state-owned National Bank of Pakistan for total estimated cost of Rs 404 billion.
“With completion of this mega project by June 2017, the country will get 5.150 billion unit electricity on per annum basis, generating revenues of Rs 55 billion and ensure saving of 2.5 million tons of furnace oil,” Project Director Nayyar Alludin said in an interview on Tuesday.
He said that over 10,000 workers were working on the project of which 1350 were Chinese engineers who were undertaking their responsibilities in a workaholic manner. He said the project would be completed within the envisaged deadline.
“By doing work on such mega project in collaboration with Chinese engineers, he said that Pakistani workers got expertise of international standards. About security of Chinese workers, he said Army’s unit under supervision of Colonel level officers was providing foolproof security while 350 police officials were also deputed under command of SP Police to discharge their responsibilities for providing security to all Chinese nationals working on such a crucial power project.
He said this hydropower project was being built by constructing 65 kilometer long tunnel at Nosri area as it lied on the 4000 kilometer long fault line stretched up to India. “It is the first Asia’s project which is being built by constructing such long tunnel for providing water to power turbines for generating electricity,” he added.
He said that the power house was being built underground, up to 83 meter beneath, and it would be a four-storey building that could be extended to seven storey at a later stage. “This power house will have length of 137 meter and its width will be 26 meter. The total length of the project will be standing at 160 meter and total height at 60 meter,” said the project director.
With the help of tunnel boring machine, he said, the engineers and workers had so far constructed 184 meter long tunnel.
In order to make it earthquake resistant dam, he said that the location and design of the dam was changed that could not survive earthquake of 9 scale without any damages.
He said that Pakistan would be able to save foreign exchange reserves by reducing its dependence on imported furnace oil to the tune of 2.5 million tons. He said that the per unit cost of electricity of this project would be standing at Rs6 to Rs7 compared to Rs15 to Rs16 per unit with thermal power plants.
He said that the country possessed capacity to generate 60,000 MW by exploiting hydropower resources. Answering a query regarding delay in completion of this project, he said that the resource constraints and 2005 earthquake in the area caused major delays that also escalated its estimated cost.