Pakistan president launches construction of 969-MW Neelum-Jhelum

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf launched construction February 9 of the 969-MW Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project on the Neelum and Jhelum rivers in the Azad Jammu Kashmir Region.

Musharraf unveiled a plaque, saying the project is to be completed in eight years with Chinese assistance, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet approved construction of Neelum-Jhelum in December at a revised cost of 128.4 billion rupees (US$2.1 billion). (HNN 12/17/07) Cabinet approval cleared the way for construction of the project, which is covered by the Indus Basin Treaty that divides water resources between Pakistan and India.

The project is to divert the Neelum at Nosairi in Azad Jammu Kashmir and transport the water to the power station through a 47-kilometer tunnel.

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 1/30/08)

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