GHAZI BAROTHA POWER PROJECT

Kala Bagh and Bhasha Dams in line

From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI,
Islamabad

Aug 25 - 31
, 2003 

While inaugurating the Pakistan's, second largest run-of-the river Ghazi Brotha hydle power project, President General Pervez Musharraf declared that Kala Bagh and Bhasha dams will have to be built in order to provide electricity to the consumers at a reasonable price.The present high cost of electricity was the result of faulty power purchase agreements with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) which pushed up power rates from 73 paisa per unit in 1994 to Rs.4.60 in 1998, the president observed adding that it was great injustice to the people of Pakistan. We have to produce hydro-based electricity to cut the cost of generation "let me make clear to every one that Bhasha and Kala Bagh Dams would have to be constructed at every cost in order to supply cheaper electricity to the masses", General Pervez Musharraf declared disclosing that feasibility study of Bhasha Dam was under preparation and would be ready by June next.

The President deplored that some elements were instigating the people against the mega water reservoirs for their politically motivated interests. But the situation was now changing in the government favour which would now act swiftly to thwart any such designs and make the masses realize that the construction of these two major dams was in the larger interest of the nation and a key to their progress and prosperity, the President added.

The President Commissioned the first 290 MW power unit of 1,450 MW capacity of Ghazi Barotha hydle project. The work of Ghazi Barotha Power Project has been completed while installation and testing of power generation is in progress. The power project completed with a cost of 2.06 billion dollars will generate 1,450 MW power with five generators of 290 MW each. The first power generator has been commissioned while the remaining generators will go into operation after every three months interval and full generation of 1,450 MW is expected by May next year.

The donors include the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japan Bank of International Cooperation, Islamic Development Bank, KFW Germany and European Investment Bank who contributed a total loan of 1.1 billion dollars for the project.

The PC-I of the project was approved on June 19, 1994 with a cost of Rs.89.840 billion. The contracts of a barrage, CE-01, at Ghazi and two kilometres long water channel from Ghazi Barotha were awarded to a consortium of contractors including an Italian firm while the contract of power complex at Barotha Attock was handed over to a Chinese electrical firm Dong Fong.

The report indicated a delay of over two years in the completion of the project due to the suspension and slow pace of work. While the annual loss owing to increase in the cost of project comes to Rs.11,400 million and the authority has to pay extra cost of Rs.22,800 million on account of two years delay.

Another reason for delay in the completion of the project was the stoppage of construction work by the contractors in the aftermath of the September 11 events. The delay, sources informed was costing one million dollars per day to WAPDA and the total loss had reached to about 110 million dollars. The construction of the project resumed in March 2002 and most of the foreign employees were recalled. They said over one billion rupees were paid to GBC against its claims.

The GBHP would produce electricity at economically viable rate of around 60 paisa per unit, which would not only boost the financial position of the cash starved WAPDA but consumers may also get some relief, sources said.

The project provides power peaking capacity throughout the year, with full power generation during the months of May and June when there is reduced generation from Tarbela and Mangla as a result of low reservoir levels. Moreover, it will improve the thermal to hydel ratio, reducing power tariff in the country.

The project has three main components a barrage, a power channel and a power complex. The power will be transmitted by 500 KV circuits to WAPDA's national grid system. The project is environment friendly. Only 110 dwellings have been relocated. A detailed resettlement action plan was prepared in accordance with the World Bank guidelines and the advice from panel of environmental experts.

WAPDA has constructed three resettlement villages near Isa, Feroze Banda and Barotha for the affected household with all community facilities. Land has been acquired at the market prices. An Integrated Regional Development Plant (IRDA) was being implemented.