Cost per unit of electricity is a major consideration
in Pakistan. The exorbitant electricity charges not only irritating the
minds of the consumers but also forcing the government quarters to find
out a solution to bring down the cost of electricity affordable for the
industrial, commercial and domestic consumers.
The export oriented industries are describing cost
per unit of electricity as one of the major irritants hampering growth
of economic as well as social life standards due to its multiplier
effects on general prices and escalating cost of production of the
manufacturing sector in Pakistan.
The situation may become even more alarming for the
industrial sector to compete in the international market beside facing
the influx of the foreign products if the genie of the free trade comes
out of the bottle of WTO in next two to three years.
The writing on the wall is too clear and far too far
from being comfortable. The demand supply gap in the electrical power
generation is negative and with the progress of time, this gap is
projected to widen, not arithmetically but close to exponentially.
According to a leading industrial the electricity
charges in Pakistan are much higher as compared to electricity price in
Germany. Currently, the entire nation is paying the price of the folly
of the previous governments they had committed by entering into power
purchase agreements with the IPPs.
Though it is not so easy to mend, yet the policy
makers are trying to contain the cost of power generation by focusing on
the policy of power generation through Hydro power projects.
According to a research paper done by the University
of Punjab, the most non-controversial mode of power generation in
Pakistan shall always be the Hydel mode of power generation. Keeping in
line with these guidelines, the government is focusing more attention on
Hydro power projects.
Ghazi Barotha Hydro Power Project, which is well on
its way to completion is being said to be the model for more Hydro power
projects to be built in the years to come.
Though the project is delayed for over 2 years
resulting in price escalation, however over 94.1 per cent physical work
and 86.4 per cent of the overall civil work on Ghazi Barotha Hydropower
Project is completed and the remaining work is progressing fast.
Once it starts working, it will provide the nation
with a continuous peak power of 1450mw, 24 hours a day as long as the
Indus continues to flow.
The construction work on the last phase of Ghazi
Barotha costing $2077.03 million with 1,450mw capacity, the second
largest in the country after Tarbela, is in full swing with over 200
foreign consultants and experts engaged in completing task by May 2004.
All contractor consultants and experts from Italy,
Japan, China and Germany are working day and night to accomplish the
task, and expressed satisfaction at the pace of progress.
The most outstanding feature of the project is that
it will provide power peaking capacity throughout the year with full
power generation during the months of May and June when there is reduced
generation of power from Tarbela and Mangla as a result of low reservoir
The original cost of the project was estimated at
$2250.00 million, which has now been revised, in view of price level in
April last at 2077.03 million.
The project is a major run of the river
environmentally sustainable power project with 1450mw installed capacity
designed to meet the acute shortage of peak power in the country.
The project will use the head available in the Indus
river, between Tarbela Dam and its confluence with the Haro River, and
will have three main features i.e. barrage, power channel and a power
The barrage is located 7km downstream of Tarbela Dam
which has been designed to re-regulate the daily discharge from Tarbela
and divert water into the power channel, adding compensation water
during the low flow seasons and excess during high flow season will be
released downstream of the barrage.
There will be negligible impact on existing
groundwater table or quality of water, adding on the other hand, the
power channel under drainage system will help alleviate an existing
water-logging problem in this part of the project.
For the re-settlement of the inhabitants, a detailed
re-settlement action plan has been prepared in accordance with World
Bank guidelines, and on the advice of the environmental panel of
Wapda has constructed three re-settlement villages
near Isa Feroze, Banda and Barotha to accommodate the genuine affectees
and added that land for this purpose is being acquired at the market
price as estimated by the land evaluation committee.
According to official version, only 110 scattered
dwellings with 900 inhabitants will be locally displaced and need
resettlement. However there are reports that a large number of
dislocated dwellers are still claiming for the settlement. Informed
source said that the government had acquired land in the province of
Sindh for the settlement of the affected people, however the affected
dwellers are reluctant to settle in the province of Sindh and are keen
to live in their own province near Haripur Hazara.