By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the construction of Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project over river Jhelum in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
As part of CPEC, with an investment of $ 1.5 billion dollars , the Azad Pattan project will produce 700.7 megawatts of inexpensive electricity without any dependence on imported fuel.
The project is expected to be completed in 2026. This is the second project over river Jhelum in Kashmir signed with China over the last two weeks. Pakistan and China had signed Kohala Hydro Power Project on June 26.
Addressing the signing ceremony in the capital, Islamabad, prime minister Imran Khan said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will prove to be a milestone in country’s development and prosperity.
He hoped that time would prove the long term benefits of the CPEC project, which was based upon economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.
He said Pakistan could learn a lot from China in realms of economic progress and prosperity as the country was fast emerging as world economic power.
He expressed the optimism that in the future, they would learn from the Chinese experiences. The CPEC had different phases with various bright aspects for prosperity and progress, he added.
Referring to the signing of the agreement, PM Imran said it was part of the investment to complete a power project based upon the clean energy.
Unlike past, the project would not burden the people, he said and mentioned the previous governments’ costly projects which were made functional with imported fuel, thus increasing the cost of energy manifold and stressing the local currency.
The prime minister said due to those policies, the power industry ran into losses impacting the consumers.
He regretted that the country could not compete with its neighbouring countries in terms of generating the low-cost energy.
He said the hydro-power generation was considered as a big source of clean energy which was also in line with his government’s policy of ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ and regarded as environment friendly.
Signing ceremony Azad Pattan Hydel power Project.Focus been on cheaper &greener https://t.co/RI0aavxlMO fuel import so no foreign exchange wasted.3000 jobs, $1.5 Bn investment-no loan. Annual income of Rs 1.38 Bn for Punjab/AJK from water use #cpec #CPECMakingProgress pic.twitter.com/u1Q7CNDjAN
— Asim Saleem Bajwa (@AsimSBajwa) July 6, 2020
Chairman CPEC, Lt Gen (retd) Bajwa said 3000 jobs would be created through the mega project and it would provide an annual income of Rs1.38 billion to Punjab and Azad Kashmir from water use.
He added, “With an investment of $1.5 billion, no fuel import, we are moving towards cheaper and greener power.”
Last year in November, Pakistan and China agreed to include 700 megawatts Azad Pattan hydropower project under the CPEC. which is to be financed through Chinese currency.
Azad Pattan hydropower project is a run-of-the-river scheme on the River Jhelum, in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, with a capability of four hours of daily peaking.
The project would be located near the Azad Pattan bridge upstream of 720 MW Karot hydropower project and downstream of 640 MW Mahal hydropower project and would be part of the River Jhelum hydel cascade.
The project would deliver approximately 3.3 billion units of clean, renewable energy in the grid after its completion in 2026.
Being developed under the 2002 power policy, the project would be transferred free of cost to the government after the term.