MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the 102MW Gulpur hydropower project on Poonch river in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Kotli district Thursday, reported Radio Pakistan.
The hydropower plant project is expected to be completed in four years at a cost of US $320 million.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the premier said the government plans to build a host of small and big hydropower projects to address the issue of electricity shortage.
Nawaz invited foreign investors to invest in the mega projects of Diamer, Basha and Dasu dams “which will add about 9,000MW of electricity to the national grid.”
He pointed out that there is potential of generating 500MW power on Poonch river which will be fully exploited.
He said the 969MW Neelum Jhelum project is nearing completion and the government is interested in privatising it after its commissioning.
The prime minister reiterated commitment to address the issue of power shortage by the end of 2017. He said power shortages have already considerably been reduced from 12 to six hours. These will continue to decline in the years to come, he said.
He said the government is laying more emphasis to producing electricity at cheaper rates. For this purpose, he said, hydroelectric, LNG and coal projects are being established.
Nawaz said the Thar coal mine is also being explored to meet the future energy requirements of the country.
About China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, the prime minister said the work on the project has been fast tracked.
Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Azad Kashmir Chaudhary Abdul Majeed appreciated the goverment’s steps towards addressing the electricity shortage in the region.
He also lauded the prime minister for strongly raising the Kashmir issue at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.