Islamabad: A local newspaper reported that Golen Gol Hydropower Project will start generating electricity in about two months time.
Located in Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the project has faced innumerous delays and is costing $30b to build. The first 36-megwatt unit is expected to start power generation before December 31st as per a revised deadline set by ex-PM Nawaz Sharif.
Originally slated to begin construction in 1996, the construction started around 2002 with a deadline to complete it by 2011. The project has received funding from a consortium of international lenders too.
Its original cost was estimated to be around Rs7b in 2002, which rose to Rs29.1b by end of September last year.
During ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Chitral last year, he had promised the local population of a dedicated 36MW unit which would decrease power outages. Sharif had also instructed Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to speeden up work on the project and told Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) to expand distribution system in the area.
According to sources, Wapda did act on the government instructions but Pesco failed to lay the transmission lines for electricity supply from Golen Gol to Chitral and areas nearby in a 22-kilometer range of the plant.
Even if the 36 MW unit starts electricity production, it is feared that the local population may not be able to fully benefit from it as Pesco’s lax attitude may cost them dearly.