This refers to the news story about the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, “Neelum Jhelum hydropower project to be completed on time” announced by the Minister of State for Water and Power, Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali.
Our leaders don’t tire of giving wrong information as they are not held accountable for what they say to the nation. People of Pakistan are fed up of reading and hearing such wishful statements given by our leaders regarding completion of Neelum -Jhelum hydropower project on time since the last 6 to 7 years.
However, ground realities negate their statements. During his address on August 19, 2013, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif regretted the corruption, inefficiency and wastage of national wealth on two massive hydropower projects i.e. 425 MW Nandipur Power Project and 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Power Project and vowed to complete these national projects.
The PM is according great importance to completion of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Power Project by not only visiting the project site immediately after taking over as Prime Minister but also directed the authorities concerned to ensure completion of the project one year ahead of schedule. The Neelum-Jhelum project’s early completion is of immense importance to Pakistan to avoid a permanent loss of Rs. 30-35 billion per annum forever if failed to construct before India i.e. loss of water storage priority right as per Indus Water Treaty. Moreover, this project will start producing about 1000 MW cheap electricity within tenure of his government to reduce loadshedding bringing hope.
Unfortunately, Ministry of Finance has failed to keep pace with the desires of the Prime Minister. The completion of this project on schedule or before schedule is totally dependent on timely provision of funds and not on wishful thinking or rhetoric. According to news published in various newspapers no payments have been made to the contractors of the said project in last two years. This national project is facing serious issues and has already lost precious time due to non-funding by previous government as well as present government. It is very sad to write that the present government has also failed to release funds for this national project after passage of six months. The story that funds have been issued to new and less important projects at the cost of Neelum-Jhelum project is heart breaking. I appeal to Prime Minister to provide funds to rescue the project on priority basis, otherwise what will be the difference between the present government and the previous failed governments?
M M HUSSAIN,
Lahore, December 4.