Japan is reportedly said to be considering financing Mangla Refurbishment Project after announcement by the US ambassador that USAID will allocate $150 million to the project, sources close to chairman Wapda told Business Recorder. The sources said, Wapda carried out a feasibility study for ””refurbishment and upgradation of Mangla power station generating units”” with the objective improve the efficiency of existing old units, especially for optimal utilisation of additional water potential and storage as a result of Mangla Dam raising.
The consultant, ie a Joint Venture of M/s MWH (USA) and Nespak (Pakistan) considered different alternatives and recommended the most viable and beneficial option which envisages on one hand the capacity enhancement of the power plant from 1000MW to 1310MW with the average annual incremental energy benefit of 1632GWh and replacement of old plant worthy of operating over the next 35 years.
The sources said, the estimated cost of the project is $397.24 million while the total implementation period for the whole scheme is about 10 years. The preparation of detailed design, tender documents and strategy for contracting is in hand. USAID has allocated $150 million to support Mangla Refurbishment Project and it was formally announced by the US ambassador to Pakistan during his visit to Mangla Dam on 28th November, 2012.
According to sources, this amount will be spent on the upgradation of units 5 & 6 and refurbishment and modernisation of balance of plant. The remaining amount of the project cost, ie $247.24 million will have to be arranged from other source. The sources maintained that Kato Ken, Advisor South Asia Division JICA along with Nishikata Takatoshi Chief Advisor JICA (Pakistan Office) met Chairman Wapda, Syed Raghib Abbas Shah on 8th December, 2012 and showed their interest to finance Mangla Refurbishment Project.
“It is the appropriate time to proceed for availing the said opportunity which suits the best for project implementation,” the sources continued. The sources said, Wapda has requested the Ministry of Water and Power to request Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to send a formal proposal to JICA for providing finances for the remaining project cost amounting to $247.0 million to carry out refurbishment /upgradation of the remaining units (1 to 4,7-8 &9, 10) along with other related works on the balance of plant.
It is pertinent to mention here that Wapda is facing financial problems due to which a number of projects including Neelum Jhelum are behind the schedule. Wapda is also unsure about funds for Diamar Bhasha multipurpose project and Project Director, a close friend of Water and Power Minister with the status of Chairman Wapda is just overseeing developments. Both the incumbent Chairman Wapda and Project Director, a former Chairman Wapda, sources claim are not on the same page as both want authority.