ISLAMABAD: A tripartite agreement was signed on Thursday between a Chinese company and the governments of Pakistan and China for the construction of the 1,124-megawatt (MW) Kohala Hydropower Project costing $2.4 billion.
The signing ceremony was held at the Prime Minister (PM) Office in Islamabad and was witnessed by PM Imran Khan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, federal cabinet members, Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Yao Jing, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa and representatives of the concerned Chinese company.
The $2.4 billion Kohala Hydropower Project is Pakistan’s largest power sector investment in a single Independent Power Producer (IPP) till date.
The project is being built on River Jhelum in Azad Kashmir under CPEC and has been awarded to Kohala Hydropower Company Ltd (KHCL), which is a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC).
Addressing the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the Kohala Hydropower Power Project was the biggest ever investment in Pakistan on a single project.
He added that the project can potentially initiate a move towards clean energy and Pakistan’s dependence on imported fuel.
He said that the country was progressing well when it had been producing hydropower until it started banking on imported fuel which not only made the local industry uncompetitive but also put additional burden on foreign reserves.
The prime minister said that power generation through imported fuel also adversely impacted the environment as Pakistan was among the top nine countries worst hit by climate change which necessitated the promotion of clean energy.
The prime minister informed that the project would also create much-needed jobs through its construction and later through its operation.