ISLAMABAD - The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday has approved updated cost of Rs506.81 billion for the Neelum Jhelum Hydroelectric Project (NJHP).

The Ecnec, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has approved projects costing Rs775 billion.

The meeting has approved 4th Revised PC-1 of Neelum Jhelum Hydroelectric Project at an updated cost of Rs506.808 billion. The ECNEC in 2002 approved the project at the cost of Rs84.502 billion. The cost of the project scaled up to Rs277.502 billion which the Ecnec approved in 2012.

And then the cost of project was revised upward by 86 percent to Rs404 billion mainly because of the inclusion of duties, taxes which further increased up to Rs500.343 billion because of the inclusion of IDC (interests during cost) till completion of the project and the cost of the consultant.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has recently approved consultants for third-party validation of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project at a cost of Rs100 million.

The project with capacity of 969MW electricity will generate 5150 Gegawatt per hour at the levelised tariff of 13.50 per unit for 30 years.

The annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs55 billion.

The meeting approved 220 kV Mastung Substation along with 220 kV Sibi-Mastung-Quetta-Loralai Double Circuit Transmission Lines at a cost of Rs14,155.31 million. Modified PC-II for purchase of land for Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) at H-11/2, Islamabad was approved at a cost of Rs3,519.47 million.

The meeting also approved phase-III of Overseas Scholarship Scheme for 2,000 Doctorates (PhD) in selected fields at a cost of Rs22,214.578 million.

In Social sector, a project for the establishment of Centre of Neuroscience at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad was approved at a cost of Rs7284.802 million.

Ecnec approved Devolved Vertical Programmes in Health Sector in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan at a cost of Rs131,786.731 million. These programmes include national maternal, neonatal and child health programme, National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Healthcare, National Tuberculosis Control, PM’ Programme for prevention and control of Hepatitis, Rollback Malaria Programme, National Programme for Prevention and Control of Avian, Pandemic Influenza and Blindness.

The meeting approved phase II of Sindh Barrages Improvement Project at a cost of Rs16,6625 million. The project involves rehabilitation and modernization of Sukkar Barrage.

The meeting approved acquisition of land for Railway Corridor from Sea Port KM:5.25 to KM: 9.00 and Railway Operational land from KM: 12.00 to KM: 14:00 at Gwadar.

2nd Revised PC-1 for construction of Drawat Dam project at a revised capital cost of Rs11,767.87 million was also approved by ECNEC.

The meeting also approved revision in cost of construction of 184 Km long Faisalabad-Khanewal Motorway (M-4) project at updated cost of Rs. 60,823.66 million.