Neelum-Jhelum project completion to end loadshedding: PIAF

LAHORE, Oct 23 (INP): As the 969 megawatt Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project is quickly heading towards its completion, the Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front (PIAF) chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh expressed the hope that the government’s commitment of ending loadshedding in 2018 will certainly be fulfilled. The completion of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project will not only provide cheaper electricity but also help bridge demand and supply gap of electricity, leading to end of loadhsedding.

In a joint statement, along with senior vice chairman Tanveer Ahmed Sufi and vice chairman Shahzeb Akram, Irfan Sheikh appreciated the decision of WAPDA to also start construction of Diamer Bashma and Mohmand Dams in 2018. He said the electricity price in Pakistan is on the higher side which is the main cause of price-hike in Pakistan. He said provision of cheap electricity will reduce industrial production cost that can provide relief to the public which is possible only if power is produced through hydel means.

The chairman PIAF was of the view that declining exports and widening trade deficit has posed a serious threat to economic growth and required to be tackled on priority basis. The government should also find a lasting solution to the problem of high prices of energy.

He asked WAPDA authorities to restrategize its priorities to increase water storage capacity and make energy mix in favour of hydel electricity.

“It is appreciable that Phase-I of Kachhi Canal, a much needed project for development of irrigated agriculture in Dera Bugti Balochistan, has recently been completed. In addition, three hydropower projects including Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, Tarbela 4th Extension and Golen Gol, with total generation capacity of 2487 MW, are being completed in 2018.” Chairman quoted.

It is good that government has achieved success to bring delayed projects back on track and initiate new projects in the shortest possible time.

Irfan Iqbal said that there has been lack of focus on development of water resources. However, with establishment of the Ministry of Water Resources, things have been started moving in the right direction.