Engineering Post Report
Run of the river Neelum Jhelum Hydropower project has become fully functional after remaining shut for one year and undergoing repairs following some defects in its tail race. All its three units, 323 MW each, were now contributing 969 MW to the national grid since early August 2023 after remaining closed since July 2022. But it is still listed in PSDP 2024 as the ongoing scheme of the Water Resources Division.
Its first unit generating 242 MMW had become functional in April 2018. As the project cost continued to increase every now and then, power generation capacity of each three units was also raised to 323 MW each.
Neelum Jhelum Hydropower project has been in doldrums for decades on different counts and reasons after it was initially approved way back in i989.
With delays in its construction, the cost has also been going up and revised over the years.
According to the available information, the project was revised upward to Rs 40432 million by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in December 2015.It is functional now for some time but it is still mentioned among Ongoing Schemes of Water Resources Division in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2023-24 with its revised cost being approved by ECNEC in May 2018 at Rs 506806.610 million including foreign of Rs 236380.150 million. Against the revised cost, an expenditure of Rs 418324.000 million has been reported incurred till end June 2023 and an allocation of 4828.000 with no foreign aid has been provided during financial year 2023-24.
In all fairness, Neelum Jhelum Hydropower project can easily be described as an engineering marvel with 90 percent of it being underground in the high mountain areas. It consists of three main components i.e. a dam, a water way system comprising a 52 kilometers long tunnel and an underground power house.
The project on the whole makes interesting reading in terms of its long history since 1989 and it may be reported on these pages sometime later on, please.