ECNEC approves cost revision for Dasu project’s land acquisition

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ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Monday approved ‘Dasu Hydropower Project (stage 1) revision of cost for land acquisition and built up of property’ after imposition of section 4 of Land Acquisition Act of 1894, subject to opinion of the law ministry.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who chaired ECNEC meeting, directed that the Ministry of Law might be requested to give its opinion in a week’s time to save the project from further delay.

The meeting was attended by the planning minister, adviser to the prime minister on institutional reforms, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finance minister, Sindh Planning & Development Board chairperson and senior officials of federal and provincial governments.

The project mentioned above is financed by the World Bank and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and was designed to provide 4,320MW of electricity in two stages.

ECNEC also approved the project for the evacuation of power from 2,160MW Dasu HPP (stage 1), Dasu to Islamabad via Mansehra, at a revised cost of Rs90,831 million with foreign exchange component (FEC) of Rs79,584.20 million.

The changes in the cost of the project occurred due to changes in the exchange rate, the meeting was told.

Dr Hafeez Shaikh observed that the projects’ cost revision due to exchange rate fluctuation had become a regular exercise at ECNEC and directed the Ministry of Planning to devise a mechanism to incorporate the exchange rate fluctuations in the cost of the project.

ECNEC also considered and approved the “Engineering Procurement and Construction of Balakot Hydropower Project, Manshera,” at an updated cost of Rs85.9 billion with the FEC of Rs35.04 million.

The project will be sponsored and executed by the Energy and Power Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The financing for the project would be from the Asian Development Bank (80pc) and (20pc) from the annual development programme of the KP government.

The finance adviser also directed to form a committee to look into the matter of filing a petition to National Electronic Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) for reference tariff for public sector power projects at EPC as well as COD stage. The minister for planning, members from NEPRA, the Power Division secretary, and KP planning secretary would be members of the committee.

While reviewing the “500 kV HVDC Transmission System between Tajikistan and Pakistan for Central Asia- South Asia transmission interconnection (CASA1000) Modified”, the adviser directed that the project might be brought back to the next meeting of the ECNEC by the Ministry of Planning after another round of consultation with the project stakeholders, besides a detailed discussion on export of energy as well to ensure its viability.

ECNEC also approved two power projects on the same observations; “The 1,223 MW(Gross) combined cycle Power Plant Balloki, District Kasur” and “1230MW (Gross) Combined Cycle power plant at Haveli Bahadur Shah, District Jhang (2nd revised PC1)”.

ECNEC had the following observations for both the projects: Construction of Housing complex and allied facilities might be allowed at a rate of Rs5,000/sqft already permitted by NEPRA as an ex-post facto case.

Sponsors should justify land acquisition for Housing Complex without prior approval of ECNEC and award design work to consultants.

This approval would in no way constitute endorsement of the fiduciary/ management decisions of NPPMCL board regarding internal cost adjustments/ re-appropriation within the approved PC 1, as these are not in the ambit of CDWP/ ECNEC and are the responsibility of the board / PAO.

ECNEC also approved the 220kV Head Faqirian Grid Station along with 220kV double Circuit Transmission line from Head Faqirian to Ludewala at an updated cost of Rs.5812.08 million including FEC of Rs.2991.42 million.

The chair also directed the Planning Commission to undertake an exercise of project evaluation before bringing the projects to ECNEC. Dr Ishart Hussain shall lead the exercise for the evaluation of the projects.

ECNEC also approved Extension of Intensive Care Department of Mother-Child Health Centre and children hospital at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) at an updated cost of Rs4.27 billion with FEC of Rs3.87 billion through Japan.

ECNEC approved Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Integrated Tourism Development Project at the cost of Rs17 billion (World Bank loan Rs14 billion and KP government’s share Rs3 billion).

The project aims at the development of tourism in KP for economic growth, employment and revenue generation, progress of local communities, construction of roads and creating an enabling environment for private sector operations.

The project will be completed by the end of the financial year 2022-2023; the World Bank loan will be repaid by the government of KP.

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