LAHORE - Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Zafar Mahmood Friday presided over a meeting to review construction work on the 969MW-Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP).

The meeting was attended by WAPDA Member (Water) Muhammad Shoaib Iqbal, NJHP Chief Executive Officer Engineer Muhammad Zubair, WAPDA General Manager (Central Contract Cell) Nasir Hanif, NJHP Project Director Nayyar Alauddin and NJC (Consultants) Project Manager William B. Dobbs and CGGC (Contractor) Project Manager Hu Quanguang.

The consultants and the contractor made a detailed presentation about the construction activities on the project, the problems being faced by them and their future plan of action for completion of the project.

The meeting reviewed in detail the construction work at all three sites of the project. In view of the current progress on the project, a thorough appraisal was carried out on the time lines for completion of the project. The meeting observed that WAPDA chairman and the project team led by Engineer Muhammad Zubair are earnestly trying to adhere to the time lines to bring electricity in the system as early as possible, but in no case, safety of the project should be compromised while working on a complex  hydropower project like that of Neelum Jhelum.

Accordingly it was emphasized on the contractor to deploy their maximum resources for completion of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project in accordance with the already agreed time lines. Also keeping in view the latest directions of the Prime Minister conveyed to Chairman WAPDA, low-cost hydel electricity needs to be added to the national grid to help the county overcome electricity shortages. The option to change the time lines already committed by the contractor is not available, therefore, the construction work must be expedited by increasing resources at site. The Chairman emphasized upon the contractor to invest more in deployment of machinery and human resources to meet the agreed time lines for completion of the project. He said that loan agreement amounting to $576 million is likely to be finalized next week to achieve financial close of the project. Therefore, an updated construction schedule of the remaining works shall be prepared in consultation with the consultants and the contractor to ensure that the time lines already agreed by the contractor are adhered to.

NJHP CEO briefed the meeting about the progress on the dam and de-sander, tunnel excavation, power house, transformers hall and the switch yard. He said that steel lining of the tunnels in the critical river-crossing area is progressing at a good pace, while concrete lining of the tunnels is also continuing. He apprised the meeting that subsequent to achieving most of the critical targets, the construction work on all three sites of the project is moving ahead satisfactorily. Overall progress on the project stands at about 83.5 percent, he further said.

It is pertinent to mention that Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company – a subsidiary of WAPDA – is constructing a world class underground power generation facility. The project envisages 90 percent construction work under high mountainous over burden and only 10 percent above the ground. As per agreed time lines by the contractor, the first generating unit of the project is expected to be completed in July 2017, whereas the remaining three units will come on line one by one till the end of December 2017. On its completion, the project will contribute 5.15 billion units of low-cost and environment friendly electricity to the system each year.