LAHORE – Secretary Water and Power Nargis Sethi Friday visited Wapda House to preside over a meeting to review progress on water and power projects. Wapda chairman Syed Raghib Shah and other officials attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, the secretary said that the power sector is directly linked to economy of the country, therefore, this is all the more important to add to the national grid a good quantum of electricity, generated at affordable cost. She said that the government accords priority to harnessing indigenous resources of hydropower, coal and other alternatives such as wind and solar etc.

More attention should be paid to develop these resources, hydel in particular, by constructing the projects in the shortest possible time. This will help reduce dependence on high-cost imported oil for electricity generation and stabilise the electricity tariff, she further said. The Secretary said that electricity situation in the country is gradually improving with concerted efforts of the government. She expressed the hope that the situation will further improve in the days to come.

Terming Wapda as an important organisation of the country, the Secretary Water & Power said that Pakistan is fortunate to have projects like Tarbela and Mangla. The government is working on Diamaer Basha Dam and we will have significant development on the project in the coming days, she added.

The Secretary directed that the under-construction projects be completed in accordance with the timeline.

She appreciated the efforts made by Wapda to complete Kachhi and Rainee Canal projects, adding that the two projects will help irrigate hundreds of thousands of acre land in the far flung areas of Balochistan and Sindh for socio-economic uplift of the people.

Speaking on the occasion, Wapda chairman assured the secretary to follow the timeline for completing the projects. The chairman said that WAPDA has devised a least-cost energy generation and water storage plan, through which more than 25 projects are being implemented to generate about 27000 MW of electricity and store 13 MAF of water. Dilating upon the short, medium and long term strategy, he informed the meeting that 370MW of hydel electricity will be added to the system by June 2013, while another 2600 MW in the next four years followed by 6500 MW by 2020, provided funds are made available for the purpose. He thanked the Secretary Water & Power for enhancing the payment to WAPDA to the tune of Rs.3 billion per month against hydel invoices to help overcome financial problems in implementing the projects.

The financial as well as other issues relating to the water and power projects were also discussed in details during the meeting.