LAHORE – The China EXIM Bank will provide $448 million to help complete strategically important 969MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP), while in another development, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has also approved revised PC-I of the project amounting to Rs274.882 billion.This was told in a meeting presided over by WAPDA Chairman Shakil Durrani to review progress on the project, being constructed on Neelum River in AJK. The meeting was also attended by members of the Authority, NJHP CEO and other officials concerned. Briefing the meeting, NJHP CEO said that assembling of the two German-manufactured sate-of-the-art tunnel boring machines (TBMs) at site was in progress. He said the first TBM was expected to be operational in August, while the second one in September 2012. The use of TBMs will enhance the progress, thereby reducing construction period of the project by 18 months, resulting in an estimated benefit of Rs60 billion, he added. The meeting was told that the construction work at all sites including main dam, de-sander, tunnels, and underground power house and transformers hall was in full swing. About 23 kilometers main and access tunnels have so far been excavated. The overall progress on the project stands at 35 per cent, the meeting was further informed. WAPDA Chairman, addressing the meeting, said that NJHP was a vital project in view of the ever increasing needs of electricity in the country. The NJHP is being executed on priority to induct low-cost hydel electricity in the National Grid, and to establish priority water rights over the Neelum and Jhelum rivers, as India is also constructing Kishan Ganga Project upstream of NJHP. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2016. On completion, the project will contribute about 5.15 billion units of low-cost electricity per annum to the National Grid. Annual benefits of the project have been calculated about Rs.45 billion, while the project will pay back its cost in about seven years.