The strategically important Neelum Jhelum Hydro power Project, located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is all set to start electricity generation, as water filling in head race tunnel commenced on Thursday. The head race tunnel is a component of 52 kilometer long water way system of the project that has been constructed underground in the high mountain areas to divert water from the water reservoir to the power house of the project, a press release said.
Subsequent to filling of the head race tunnel, wet commissioning of the first generating unit will be carried out, meaning thereby, electricity generation will start from the project by end of the current month. Neelum Jhelum Hydroelectric Power Company a subsidiary of the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) arranged a simple ceremony at the project site to celebrate the achievement of water filling in the head race tunnel of the project.
WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (Retd) was the chief guest of the ceremony attended by the project authorities and representative of the consultants and the contractors. Addressing the ceremony, WAPDA chairman underlined the significance of pressurization (water filling) of the head race tunnel and congratulated the project management, the consultants and the contractors on achieving this critical target. He also lauded their concerted efforts towards implementation of the project.
The chairman expressed satisfaction, as the long-awaited Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is at last about to see light of the day because most of the works critical in nature have already been completed. These works included construction of dam, de-sander, water way system including head and tail race tunnels, underground power house, transformers hall, switchyard and transmission line to evacuate electricity generated by the project. Besides installing electro-mechanical equipments, most of their tests have also been successfully conducted.
The first unit will start electricity generation by end March, followed by the second, third and fourth units at one month interval respectively, he further said. WAPDA chairman said it is a matter of satisfaction for him that following electricity generation from Golen Gol Hydropower Project in January and Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project in February this year, the third hydropower project of WAPDA i.e. Neelum Jhelum is also going to start electricity generation by the end of current month.
Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project will provide about five billion low-cost hydel electricity to the National Grid every year. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs50 billion. Sharing his vision for optimal utilization of water and hydropower resources in the country, the Chairman said that WAPDA has been implementing a two-pronged strategy for the purpose. Under the strategy, not only the under-construction projects are being completed in the shortest possible time but new projects are also being initiated in both water and hydropower sectors. He said WAPDA is trying its best to award contracts for Mohmand Dam and Diamer Basha Dam within a year to supplement significantly towards existing water storage and hydropower generation capacities in the country.