ISLAMABAD - Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and S.K Hydro Private Limited on Friday signed Implementation Agreement for development of 870 MW Suki Kinari Hydropower project.

The project cost is 1.8 billion US dollars and it will be established on Kunhar River, district Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Suki Kinari Hydropower project is one of the largest private sector hydropower initiatives in Pakistan. This project alone is expected to increase Pakistan's existing available power generation capacity by more than five per cent.

According to PPIB officials, this project will be operational by June 2020.

After the signing of the agreement, the next step will be financial closure (FC), they told The Nation on Friday. They were of the view that FC may take more then six months.

The EPC tarrif or in plain words the amount on which Wapda will buy power from SK Hydro is fixed as 8.8 cent per kilowatt hour, the officials said.

At this occasion, Asif announced that ground-breaking ceremony of the project would be held on May 15 by PM Nawaz Sharif.

Answering a question, he said that Afghanistan has withdrawn its objection, as the project is located on the river, which is in Pakistani territory.

Federal Minister Kh Asif announced that funding for 4300 MW Dasu project has been arranged and the project is being executed in public sector.

Asif said that the World Bank is likely to approve 4.5 billion dollars in its meeting scheduled on 29th May for this project.

Answering another question, he said that after very positive response from investors in Gadani Project, the government is considering to establish all 10 projects of 660 MW each by the private sector.

Asif said that China is keen to set up 20,000 MW power projects in Pakistan. "After completion of all these projects, there will be no loadshedding in the country," the minister hoped.

According to PPIB officials, there are eight hydel power projects in pipeline that will add 3800-megawatt electricity to the national grid by year 2020.

The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will earn approximately 470 million rupees per annum on account of water use charges, and after thirty years of operation, the project will be transferred to the provincial government free of cost, the officials said.