WAPDA to deploy TBMs for early completion of 969 MW Neelum Jhelum Project

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has decided to deploy state-of-the-art tunnel boring machines (TBMs) for on schedule completion of the strategically important 969 MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project.

Deployment of TBMs on the project will reduce the construction period by about two years resulting in an estimated benefit of Rs.90 billion.

WAPDA Chairman Shakil Durrani expressed these views during his visit to Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project. He was accompanied by WAPDA Member (Water) Syed Raghib Abbas Shah and Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Lt. Gen. (R) Muhammad Zubair.

The Chairman inspected the diversion tunnel at Nauseri where the River Neelum was diverted in October 2011 to initiate construction of the weir. He also visited other components of the project including weir site, desander and main tunnels etc. at Nauseri and powerhouse at Chattar Kalas.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman said that Neelum Jhelum is a priority project of WAPDA’s least cost energy generation plan. Since completion of the project is vital for the country, WAPDA is taking all possible measures for the purpose including deployment of two TBMs on the project. The TBMs, being imported from Germany by the contractor, are expected to reach Pakistan by January 2012, he added.

Lauding the efforts of the project authorities, the Chairman said that completion of the tunnel to divert River Neelum is a landmark in implementation of the project. The diversion tunnel was completed in October in record time of two years.

Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company CEO/MD, briefing the Chairman, said that overall progress on the project stands at 27 per cent. He further said that about 17kilometer long tunnels have so far been completed. These include both access and main tunnels. He also briefed the Chairman about excavation work on the powerhouse and the main tunnels and piling for the composite dam.

It is pertinent to mention that Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is being constructed on River Neelum in Azad Jammu & Kashmir. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2016. On completion, the project will provide about 5.15 billion units of electricity annually to the National Grid. Benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs.45 billion per annum. The project will pay back its cost in about 7 years.

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