LAHORE  -  New timelines set for completion of two important hydel power projects are likely to be missed once again.

The Tarbella 4th Extension (T4) and Neelum Jehlum Hydro Power Project (NJHPP), having combined capacity 2,400MW, were due to start generation in mid of 2017.

However, Wapda chairman has extended the completion dates of both the projects by at least a year. During briefing to cabinet meeting in Islamabad last week, he gave new timelines for completion of first units of 969-MW NJHPP and 1410-MW T4 as February 2018 and on August 14, 2017 respectively. Wapda officially claims both the projects would be operational at full capacity in mid of 2018.

But, some official sources in background discussions told The Nation that the projects might miss the new deadlines too.

They feared the hydel generation of mere 710MW (out of claimed 2,400MW) would be added in the national grid from both the projects before May 2018, the month of general election.

The 710MW would be jointly received from one unit (out of four) of 242MW capacity of NJHPP and one unit (out of three) of 470MW of T4, they said.

“Yes, one unit of Neelum Jehlum would become operation in Feb 2018. But, it is impossible for execution agency to complete three remaining units in three or four months,” said an official who is aware of the whole development. Similarly, he added the T4 first unit will complete in mid of 2017 but it was impossible of making operational whole project in 2018.

PML-government claimed to add more than 10,000MW in the energy basket before entering 2018’s election out of which 2,400MW of hydel generation was critical.

The projects that power managers claimed to be complete by March 2018 include three LNG power plants (Bhikki, Haveli-Bahadur, Baloki (3600 MW), Chashma 3 & 4 Nuclear (340MW each), Guddu Gas (400MW), Nandipur Gas (100 MW), Sahiwal Coal (1320 MW), various wind/bagasse projects(350 MW), Patrind HPP Hydel (147MW), Faisalabad Gas (250MW), Neelum Jhelum (969MW) and Tarbella 4 Extension (1410MW) and Port Qasim Power Plant (1320MW). The meeting was assured total of 11,131 megawatts will be made available to the national grid by the March of 2018.

Media reports had claimed slow pace of work on the construction of T4 and NJHPP projects and that was why the annoyed prime minister had asked Zafar Mahmood (former chairman of Wapda) last month to get aside in August. Officials say it is big challenge to new chairman Lt General (rtd) Muzammil Hussain to make possible the completion of the both projects on set deadline.