If India succeeds in building the Kishanganga dam on River Jhelum, Pakistan is likely to face 13 percent shortage of water, incurring a loss of $141 million to the national exchequer.
This was stated by the CEO of the Neelum-Jehlum Hydro Electric Project Lieutenant General Zubair Ahmed (Retd) while briefing the National Assembly”s Standing Committee on Economic Affairs Division (EAD) which met under the Chairmanship of Pirzada Imran Ahmed Shah said that Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project envisaged the diversion of Neelum River”s water through a tunnel into Jhelum River near Chatter Kalas in Azad Kashmir. Palwasha Behram, Dr Nafisa Shah, Nisar Tanveer and Usman Khan Tarakai were among the other members of committee who attended the briefing.
Lieutenant General Zubair (Retd) said: “After completion of 14 dams in India, the overall availability of water in Pakistan will suffer badly. India would also be able to control water availability to Mangla Dam. “The committee members should cooperate with us in making essential arrangements for getting Rs 83 billion released for generating electricity through dams from Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco),” he said, adding that if Rs 2 billion of outstanding dues were released on monthly basis then work on the Neelum-Jehlum Project could begin without further delay.
Neelum Jhelum hydro project is a Composite Dam (gravity+rockfill) 160 metres long and 60 metres high is being built on Neelum River at Nauseri, about 41 kilometres from Muzaffarabad in the north-east. The Power House of the Project is located near Chattar Kalas, 22 kilometres south of Muzaffarabad. The project”s installed power generation capacity is 969 megawatts. The Project will produce 5.15 billion units of electricity annually.
The committee recommended to the finance ministry to release Rs 2 billion for the project on monthly basis for its timely completion. The project”s CEO also said: “Neelum Jehlum Hydro Electric Project has not been able to open Letter of Credit (LC) worth $113 million for Islamic Development Bank (IDB) financed equipment. This issue has also been taken up with Neelum Jehlum Hydro Company,” the CEO said, adding that loan agreement worth $100 million with Abu Dhabi Fund is pending because the Fund linked it with the issue of Etisalat payments regarding PTCL privatisation process.
He informed the committee that a loan agreement worth $448 million with Exim Bank China was also pending as China”s State Council is yet to approve it. “The revised total cost of the Neelum-Jhelum project without interest during construction is $2,583.43 million,” Zubair said.