lahore/ISLAMABAD -  The contract of the Diamer-Basha dam will be awarded by the end of 2017 while three hydropower projects with the capacity of 2,485MW will be added to the national grid by mid 2018.

In pursuit of its commitment for optimal utilisation of water and hydropower resources, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) will add 2,485MW hydel electricity to the national grid with completion of its three under-construction hydropower projects from end 2017 to mid 2018, said the Wapda spokesman.

These projects include the 969MW-Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, the 1,410MW-Tarbela 4th Extension Project and the 106MW-Golen Gol Hydropower Project. After completion, these projects will cumulatively contribute 9.432 billion units of low-cost and environment-friendly hydel electricity to the system every year and will help to eliminate load shedding from the country as per the government’s resolve.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Wapda projects were marred with delays due to certain reasons, and had missed timelines of their completion, however, after an effective monitoring mechanism in place, the Wapda projects are now back on track.

The hurdles in the way to implementation of the under-construction Wapda projects have been removed and these are now heading towards completion at a good construction pace. First unit of Tarbela 4th Extension will be completed by end 2017, whereas two remaining units during high water flow season in 2018. Likewise, first unit of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project will start electricity generation by end February 2018, second unit in mid March 2018 and the third and fourth units will be completed in April 2018.

Similarly, first unit of Golen Gol Hydropower Project will be inaugurated in December this year, while overall completion of this project is scheduled in August 2018. Kachhi Canal Project is being completed in phased manner. The phase-I will irrigate 72,000 acres of land after its completion in the far flung and backward areas of Dera Bugti district in Balochsitan – 55,000 acres by end August 2017 and another 17,000 acres by end December this year.

The issue of land acquisition for Dasu Hydropower Project, which was pending for the last two years, has been resolved by signing an agreement with 80-member Jirga of the local notables of Kohistan district in December 2016 for smooth and speedy acquisition of land.

Two contracts worth about Rs180 billion have also been awarded for main civil works of the project. For the 128MW Keyal Khwar Hydropower Project, the contractor has been mobilised to the site for start of construction work on the project. Also, construction has commenced on Kurram Tangi Dam (Stage-I) in the current month.

In the wake of approval of the Financial Plan by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016, the Wapda is making concerted efforts to award the contract for main works of Diamer-Basha Dam Project by end 2017. Mohmand Dam Project is also being actively pursued to start construction work as early as possible, the spokesman added.