ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development was informed here on Wednesday that arrangement of $500 million as out of the box solution is required for early completion of 960 megawatts (MW) Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP).
Another option is that the government should arrange early effectiveness of $448 million EXIM Bank China loan, should soon sign Abu Dhabi Loan Agreement worth $100 million and arrangement of deficit in foreign exchange component worth $375 million for completion of the project in time.
Officials from Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and Indus Water Commission informed the committee meeting chaired by Abdul Majeed Khan Khanankhel that in the first decision of the International Arbitration Court Pakistan had not been able to get relief but in the final decision of the International Arbitration Pakistan has been able to get 9.0 cubic metres per second water releases from India that is a big success. Earlier India had refused to release water for NJHP, however, as per final decision of the International Arbitration, Pakistan would now be able to get this much of water inflows from India for power generation, though at reduced rates.
The committee decided that it would invite independent experts like Shams-ul-Mulk for having expert opinion from him on latest decision of the International Arbitration on Kishanganga project.
They also informed that idea to construct Neelum-Jhelum project was conceived few decades back, however, due to the financial constraints, Pakistan was not able to be the first and resultantly India started constructing Kishanganga first and got established its first right of use of water. This has been acknowledged in the decision of the International Arbitration.
Presenting the analysis of the situation, it was informed that without construction of Kishanganga Hydroelectric Power Project, Pakistan was supposed to generate 5,178 gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity from Neelum-Jhelum, with Rs 8.5 per unit that can be translated into a monetary benefit of Rs 44 billion annually. With the construction of Kishanganga Hydroelectric Power Project Pakistan would be able to generate 4,631 GWH of electricity from Neelum-Jhelum, with Rs 8.5 per unit that can be translated into a monetary benefit of Rs 39.4 billion annually.
Reduction in Pakistan generation capacity due to the Kishanganga has been worked out to be 547 GWH of electricity from Neelum-Jhelum. Construction of Kohala Hydroelectric Project will compensate this generation loss and it has been estimated that Kohala project will generate 473 GWH of electricity. It was further informed that actual initial cost of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project was Rs 130 billion and due to the delay in execution, cost overrun has been estimated at Rs 274.882 billion as per revised cost estimates approved by ECNEC in 2012.
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Chairman Ansar Parvez informed the committee that two nuclear power projects with the help of China have been planned in Karachi namely K-2 and K-3 having capacity of 1,100 MW. He further informed that PAEC has recently completed the Dom Placement at under construction two nuclear projects Chashma-3 and Chashma-4. He was of the view that nuclear power is a safe option as maximum safeguards have been made available at new sites as well as this is the cheapest power generation option for the country after hydropower generation as it will cost less than Rs 10 per unit for 40 to 60 years. After repayment of foreign loans obtained for these new projects, the generation cost would come down further to around Rs 6.0 per unit. He informed that existing nuclear power plants in the country are running at maximum capacity and in case all the generation units including IPPs and thermal start operating at their maximum capacity, there will be no issues of circular debt, load shedding and continuous increase in power prices in the country.
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