Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet has approved construction of the 969-MW Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project at a revised cost of 128.4 billion rupees (US$2.1 billion).
Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority recently took bids for design and construction supervision of the project, on the Neelum and Jhelum rivers in the Azad Jammu Kashmir Region. (HNN 10/30/07)
The government said the December 12 cabinet approval clears the way for construction of the project, which is covered by the Indus Basin Treaty that divides water resources between Pakistan and India. Chairing the meeting, Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said the project would help secure Pakistan’s rights to Neelum and Jhelum waters and help bridge the country’s energy gap.
The revised cost approved by the cabinet included a foreign exchange component of 46.5 billion rupees (US$761 million), a government statement said.
The project envisages diverting the Neelum at Nosairi in Azad Jammu Kashmir and transporting it to the power station through a 47-kilometer tunnel. Work is to be completed in eight years.
China Gezhouba Group Corp. and China National Machinery &Equipment Import &Export Corp. were successful bidders for civil construction, and mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic steel works for Neelum-Jhelum.
The Pakistan government previously said it plans to borrow US$16 billion from international banks to build Neelum-Jhelum and the 4,500-MW Basha and 3,600-MW Kalabagh projects. (HNN 8/31/07)