Neelum-Jhelum inaugurated

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PRIME Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday inaugurated the much-awaited Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project to inject 969 megawatt of electricity to the national grid as a historic milestone to meet country’s growing power requirements. Indeed this project inaugurated way back in 2009 faced long delays mainly due to the negligence of the previous government and credit definitely goes to the incumbent government which took the challenge of completing this strategically important project described as engineering marvel and new wonder of Pakistan with 90 percent of the plant being underground in the high mountainous areas. Given the effort put in by the Chinese consortium including China Gezhouba Group Company and China Machinery Engineering Company in this difficult project, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi very rightly described this project as a symbol of Pak-China friendship.
Indeed, the Chinese companies have made massive investments in Pakistan’s power sector over the last few years under China Pakistan Economic Corridor project which has helped the country overcome power shortages to a great extent. Cooperation in this particular sector is also proving to be useful for Pakistan to exploit the precious Thar coal reserves for power production. As long as hydropower generation potential of Pakistan is concerned, undoubtedly it is immense but the regrettable part is that successive governments did not pay much attention to exploit this cheap source of energy which was also vital to meet the water requirements of the country. Over the last four years, we have been hearing that ground breaking of Diamer Basha Dam will soon be performed and now the government has reached the end of its tenure but the fate of the important project is still unknown. Given the water aggression unleashed by our arch rival India and the depletion of existing water reservoirs, it has become all the more important that the present or the next government start work on construction of dams on a war footing. Off and on one sees the parliamentarians raising the issue of Kalabagh Dam describing it vital for the country’s economy but the irony is that no focus and attention has been given to the projects where there was no controversy. We understand that such projects require massive funding but since it is the matter of death and life of Pakistan, maximum possible resources should be diverted towards the construction of not only Diamer Basha but also other reservoirs to meet the future water requirements.