Apr 25 - May 1, 2011

Three years ago, when the present Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led coalition government took over, the country was facing around 5,000 megawatts power shortfall during peak hours.

Official sources told PAGE that the PPP-led coalition government has added over 2000 MW power to the national grid system by commissioning a dozen projects during the last three years. Three power projects of 600 MW are also on test run and hopefully will start generation within next few months.

It may be noted that under the leadership of former prime minster Benazir Bhutto, the Energy Task Force was constituted in 1993, which led to formulation of 1994 Power Policy.

Pakistan's economy has historically been marred by power shortages, which are one of the chronic problems hampering its socio-economic growth.

According to the source, the Ministry of Water and Power focused the development of hydropower generation, construction of small and big dams for irrigation and cheaper electricity., A small hydropower of 72 MW in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province is also an addition to the national grid while Jinnah Hydropower, Allai Khawar and Duber Khawar hydro projects are hopefully to be completed this year. The Gomal and Satpara dams are also near completion.

The sources claimed that existing old power plants, both thermal and hydel are also being upgraded while upgradation work on Gudu thermal is in progress. The up-gradation of Terbela would be completed by end of this year. Work on first phase of as many as 32 small and medium dams has been started. A Turkish power ship of 232 MW (the largest power ship of the world) had arrived in Karachi and is contributing to the national grid nowadays. Two other rental power projects of total 200 MW are also at the commissioning stage.

As many as 18 hydropower projects of 5164 MW are under process in various stages. Some of these projects are: new Bong Hydropower Project (84MW), Patrind Hydropower Project (157 MW), Kotli Hydropower Project (100 MW), Gulpur Hydropower Project (100 MW), Sukki Kinari Hydropower Project (840 MW), Karot Hydropower Project (720 MW), Asrit Kedam Hydropower Project (215 MW), Madian Hydropower Project (157 MW) and Sehara Hydropower Project (130 MW).

According to them, the Pakistan Private Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has invited international biddings for three projects of 100 MW each. It is also processing a project of 300 MW based on imported coal. These 600 MW projects were initiated last year.

Work on mega project of Diamer-Basha dam (4500 MW) has been started. The government has allocated funds for it, approved compensation package for the affected people, released amount for land acquisition and got approval from the Council of Common Interests, the sources added.

Thar coal is being exploited and a pilot project under the guidance of Dr Samar Mubarak Mand will be experimented soon. The nation has much expectations from a great scientist of the soil.

The sources also revealed that the main work of Mangla dam extension project has also been completed. Work on 969 MW Neelam Jhelum Hydro electric projects is in full swing and efforts are being made to complete it one year before the scheduled timeframe.

Sources in WAPDA say that the authority has completed a feasibility study and detailed engineering of 25000 MW hydropower project which include 7100 MW Bunji dam, 4320 MW Dasu, 960 MW Terbela 4th Extension and 740 MW Munda dam projects.

The Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) is also going to invite international competitive biddings for the installation of 320 MW thermal plant at Faisalabad which was gifted by the UAE government.

On the other hand, over 64-per cent work on 425 MW combine cycle power plant at Nandipur has been completed while work on 525 MW combine cycle project at Chichokimalina is in progress.

According to the federal minister for water and power, Syed Naveed Qamar, the government is committed to resolve issues of water and power sectors for stabilizing the economy and facilitating social uplift in the country. The government is taking all possible measures to address the issue in the shortest possible time.

According to WAPDA Chairman Shakil Durrani, WAPDA was focused on optimal utilization of water and hydropower resources to cope with the increasing demand of water and electricity in the country. Mega projects are being executed under 'Vision-2025' including five dams, three mega canals, five hydropower projects and two drainage schemes. Feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs of various hydropower projects with accumulative capacity of 25,000 MW are in the advance stage of completion.