PM orders urgent inquiry into Neelum-Jhelum project's technical fault

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed for an urgent probe, within days, into reasons for the technical fault in the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP) that led to suspension of power generation.

The prime minister issued the directives at the project site during his day-long visit to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) where he was briefed by the officials of NJHP Company about the recent technical fault during the last month.

The 969 megawatts project first faced suspension of power generation in 2022 due to the fault in head race tunnel and was later restored after a year in September last year, and the recent one in April this year due to the same technical fault.

The prime minister, while speaking on the occasion, expressed his displeasure that the findings of the inquiry into the recent fault were still awaited and directed the officials concerned to submit the report within days and restore the power generation after repair work as early as possible.

He said it was unfortunate that $5 billion had been spent on the project despite an initial estimate of $40 million, but it was still facing technical issues.

“I am very much clear. I need a thorough probe whether lapses were in the design or in the construction, and the responsibility should be fixed. No more delay will be acceptable,” he added.

PM Shehbaz said it was a project of national significance in the power sector after Tarbela and Mangla dams with a huge cost and must remain functional for decades.

He directed that the inquiry should be carried out by third party experts and not by the designer or contractor of the project.

He also directed the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and NJHP Company to complete the repair work of the tunnel at the earliest and resume generation.

The prime minister appreciated the WAPDA chairman and his team for their efforts to repair the fault in the tunnel and resumption of generation last year.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt