RUN of the River Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower project is of immense importance in terms of generation of cheap electricity of 969 megawatts but unfortunately this project has been surrounded by various scams from time to time.
Firstly, this project faced prolonged delays and now after its commissioning, reports keep pouring in about faults occurring in it.
Chairman NEPRA Tauseef Farooqi informed a parliamentary panel on Tuesday about the serious threat of collapse of the tunnel of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower project which in fact alludes to the fact that the quality has been compromised on this important project.
At present the power generation from the hydropower project is closed since July this year following the blockage of water in the tunnel area of 3.5 kilometres which is costing both the national exchequer and the consumers.
It has been estimated if this tunnel remains closed for a year, consumers will suffer a loss of Rs 1.2 billion.
Our country is already greatly relying on electricity produced from the expensive imported fuel and the closure of this facility amounts to further reliance on the expensive fuel – the price of which ultimately will be paid by the consumers.
The state of affairs at the hydropower project should be a matter of concern for the top level authorities and while taking notice of the situation, a high level inquiry must be conducted and responsibility be fixed against those who are responsible for the defective development of the project.
It should be seen whether it was the bad design or substandard construction that is behind recurring problems at the site of the project.
Sweeping the matter under the carpet will amount to a criminal negligence as the cost of this project runs into hundreds of billions of rupees. We cannot afford the failure of this project.
At the same time, restoration work at the tunnel site should be completed without any delay ensuring that it is not collapsed at a later stage.
Technical help in this regard can be sought from the international experts.