Work on Bhasha and Mohmand dams to commence in 2017: minister

Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif on Wednesday said that the groundbreaking ceremonies of two massive reservoir construction projects, the Diamer-Bhasha dam and the Mohmand dam, will be performed in 2017.

He said this while talking to the media after implementation agreements (IAs) of two coal-based power generation projects totalling 1650 MW were signed at the ministry of water and power.

The minister said that the upcoming scarcity of water could only be addressed by building more reservoirs. “We have not managed to get financing for the Bhasha dam but have decided to start building the dam through our own resources,” Asif said.

Elaborating, he said that the government will also undertake the Mohmand dam. “These two dams will help increase water availability and hopefully when the reservoirs are complete, financing for hydel power generation will be achieved,” the minister said.

In response to a question on the Nandipur power plant, he said that the plant was ready for full capacity production as all six furnace oil treatment plants had been installed. The plant has a 430 MW capacity and will begin producing 525 MWs of power in April when it starts getting natural gas.

Annoyed with the question on handing over of NEPRA to the ministry, he said that the criticism was unfounded, as previously the Indus Water Regulatory Authority (IRSA) also worked under the ministry.

Khawaja Asif said the government is prioritising affordable generation through indigenous resources like coal and hydro.

However, the most focused resource is Thar coal, using which the investors are being encouraged to set up power plants. Projects in Thar will bring prosperity to people of the area by opening new economic avenues. “We are aiming to eliminate load shedding by 2018 by generating enough power. We are also planning capacity additions beyond that period for a long-term plan,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the IAs of the 330 MW Thar coal power project by Thar Energy Limited (TEL) and the 1320 MW power project by China Power Hub Generation Company (Pvt) Ltd (CPHGCL) were signed here on Wednesday. Simultaneously, the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) of both the projects were also signed.

Both projects being pursued by the PPIB under the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have already been issued letters of support and are at advanced stages of financial closure. The development pace on both projects is satisfactory, and it is anticipated that the 1320 MW project is likely to start generation by end 2018 while the 330 MW project by end of 2019.

Amer Sial
Amer Sial
Amer Sial is staff reporter at Pakistan Today. He can be reached at [email protected]

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