TARBELA GHAZI - WAPDA Chairman Zafar Mahmood has said the Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project is of vital importance for ending the existing energy crisis and loadshedding in the country.

During his visit to Tarbela on Thursday, where he reviewed the construction work on the project, having the capacity of 1410 MW, the chairman emphasised the need for timely completion of the project in order to fully utilise the high flow season of 2017.

Tarbela Dam General Manager Iqbal Masood Siddiqui, Tarbela 4th Extension Project Project Director Sohail Khan, representatives of the consultants and the construction firm accompanied the chairman during the visit.

The chairman went round various sites of the project, including the main dam, spillways, power house, intake, switchyard and the reservoir.   

Mahmood directed the concerned officials to expedite pace of the work, and complete it by 2017 in accordance with the acceleration programme being implemented by WAPDA, on the directives of the prime minister.

He also directed the officers to ensure the prescribed construction standards were not compromised in a bid to accelerate pace of the work.

Highlighting significance of the project, the chairman said that it would increase the generation capacity of Tarbela Hydropower Station up to 4,888 MW from the existing 3,478 MW, after installation of three units of 1,410 MW on Tunnel No 4, which would add around 3.84 billion units cheap electricity to Pakistan's national grid per year, with annual estimated benefits of around Rs 30.7 billion on its completion.

Earlier, Tarbela General Manager Iqbal Masood Siddique briefed the chairman on the progress made on the project so far, which he said was 53 per cent, while progress on the powerhouse was 55 per cent.

He added that work on the generating unit no 17 was 70 percent complete, while on unit no 16, 44 percent and on unit no 15, 37 percent.  Siddique told that all possible efforts were being made to complete the project on time.

He informed the chairman the project would help WAPDA generate additional electricity during the high water flow season of 2017, worth $300 million.

It is worth mentioning here that the cost for the extension project was estimated at $928 million with the assistance of the World Bank, which will pay an amount of $840 million as loan for the project.  Work on its further extension is underway nowadays. In September 2013, WAPDA had signed a contract worth RS 26.053 billion with a Chinese firm, Sino Hydro, for executing the civil works.