LAHORE - Wapda on Monday signed a contract worth Rs 26.053 billion with Chinese firm Sinohydro for civil works of the 1410MW Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project.The contract agreement signing ceremony was held at Islamabad. Chief Engineer/ Project Director Yousaf Khattak and Duan Jianxia signed the contract agreement on behalf of Wapda and Sinohydro respectively. The authority chairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, Wapda senior officers and others were also present.According to a statement, Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project is a part of least-cost power generation strategy of the Federal Government being implemented by WAPDA on priority. This strategy not only aims at adding a sizeable quantum of electricity to the national grid but also improving the share of low-cost hydel electricity in the overall system for reducing the power tariff.Tarbela 4th Extension Project will be constructed in three & half years at estimated cost of $928 million. The World Bank has agreed to provide $840 million for the project. The project will increase the hydropower generation capacity of Tarbela Hydel Power Station to 4888 MW, after installation of three units of 1410 MW on Tunnel No. 4. On completion, the project will add about 3.84 billion units low-cost electricity to the national grid per annum. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at about Rs.30.7 billion. The project will pay back its cost in just three years. The project will also be instrumental in saving foreign exchange on import of almost one million ton of furnace oil annually, required for the equivalent generation of electricity from thermal sources. The project will also provide a cushion to undertake rehabilitation and up-gradation of the existing Tarbela Power House during the lean period.