MIRPUR (AJK) - The AJK-based 969 megawatt Neelam Jhelum Hydropower Project will start contributing electricity to the national grid after its inauguration today.

Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, located in Muzaffarabad districts of AJK started providing electricity to the National Grid on April 9 on trial basis.

At the first leg of its operation, the project will generate electricity to its full capacity to the tune of 242 MW soon after its scheduled inauguration.

WAPDA sources told this Correspondent  Thursday evening that Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project has four units with cumulative generation capacity of 969-MW. The first unit started electricity generation followed by the second, third and fourth units at one month interval respectively.

Highlighting the salient features of the Project, the sources said that it was an engineering marvel with 90% of the project was underground in the high mountain areas. Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project consists of three main components i.e. a dam, water-way system comprising 52-km long tunnels and an underground power house.

The project will provide about five billion low-cost hydroelectricity to the national grid every year. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs55 billion.

For optimal utilisation of water and hydropower resources in the country, WAPDA has been implementing a two-pronged strategy for the purpose. Under the strategy, not only the under-construction projects are being completed in the shortest possible time but new projects are also being initiated in both water and hydropower sectors.

WAPDA is trying its best to award contracts for Mohmand Dam and Diamer Basha Dam within a year to supplement significantly towards existing water storage and hydropower generation capacities in the country, the sources added.