LAHORE In view of increasing electricity demand in the country, Pakistan Water & Power Development Authority (Wapda) has geared up its efforts for optimum utilisation of hydropower potential by initiating a number of projects. These projects will not only help bridge the gap between electricity generation and its consumption but also improve the ratio of low-cost hydel electricity in the system to stabilise the tariff. This was stated by Wapda Chairman Shakil Durrani during his visit to the under construction Golen Gol Hydropower Project. Wapda Secretary, GM (North), GM (Hydel) Operation and Project Director accompanied him during the visit. Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman said that 106-MW Golen Gol Hydropower Project is a part of the least-cost energy generation plan being executed by Wapda on priority. He said that contractors M/s SAMBU, Korean have been mobilised to the site and the project is scheduled to be completed in four years. He expressed the hope that the project will significantly contribute towards socio-economic uplift of the country in general and Chitral in particular. He said that the locals will be preferred for lower jobs during implementation of the project. He also directed the project authorities to study the possibility of providing irrigation water to the suburban areas of the project for cultivation. Chairman said that hydropower projects of about 1400 MW are under construction. The 72-MW Khan Khwar project has been completed, while three other projects of 350 MW will be completed in 2012, he added. Chairman further said that Wapda has awarded 13 contracts of Diamer Bhasha Dam project for construction of offices, colonies and road infrastructure in the dam area. Wapda GM (North) Rashid Ali Khan Bangash and the Consultants Project Manager Dr Herald Samson briefed about the progress so far on the project. Earlier, the Chairman inaugurated Wapda Staff Colony for Golen Gol Hydropower project in Koghuzi, Chitral. It is pertinent to mention that Golen Gol Hydropower project is located on the River Golen Gol, a major tributary of the River Mastuj in Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Saudi Development Fund, Kuwait Development Fund and the Opec Fund are providing $107 million for the project. On its completion, Golen Gol Hydropower project will generate about 436 million units (Gwh) of electricity annually to earn revenue of about Rs 1 billion. Being an environment friendly hydropower project, it will help reduce dependence on expensive thermal power, thereby saving foreign exchange amounting to $34 million (equivalent to Rs 3 billion) to the country. Accordingly to estimation, Golen Gol hydropower project will add about Rs 9 billion per annum to the national economy through socio-economic uplift in the country caused by the project. Later, Wapda Chairman had an interaction with the district administration and the local notables. The District Coordination Officer discussed the matters related to the electricity. The Chairman said that Pepco and NTDC will be asked for upgradation of the transmission line across Lowari Tunnel. He said that Wapda will also add another 650 KW to the existing Chitral Hydel Power Station.