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PM performs ground-breaking of 4th Tarbela Expansion Project


Thursday, 27 February 2014   13:02:44

PM performs ground-breaking of 4th Tarbela Expansion Project

     TARBELA, Feb 26 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Wednesday performed the ground-breaking of the US 928 million dollar
4th expansion of the Tarbela Dam Hydropower Project, designed to
increase production of low-cost electricity to meet country's
growing energy needs.
      The project will be completed with a US 840 million financial
assistance by the World Bank and will increase dam's ability by 1,410 megawatts of electricity, against its current hydropower capacity of
3,478 megawatts.
      Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif unveiled a plaque marking the
historic moment and said that Tarbela-IV Extension Hydropower Project heralds the beginning of a new era of socio-economic development in
the country.
      He said that it was also a manifestation of the government's
resolve to provide relief to the common man and boost economic
development through addition of low-cost electricity.
      The Prime Minister said the worst energy outages, faced by
the people of country for last many years, were the result of
sustained policy neglect.
      He said the successive governments could not address the
imperative of increasing power generation in view of escalating
needs of economy and population growth.
      He said that the credit for putting together the first-ever
holistic National Power Policy, goes to the present democratic
government, which had been prepared in consultation of federating
units and other stakeholders.
      He said the government was very clear that the country cannot
be put on the trajectory of socio-economic development unless
development of most efficient and consumer-centric low-cost power
generation was ensured.
      The Prime Minister said in order to resolve the crisis, the
Ministry of Water and Power, through WAPDA, was working on a number
of water and hydropower projects under medium and long-term plans.
      On completion, these projects will not only contribute
thousands of megawatt of low-cost electricity but also store
millions of acres feet of water.
      The phased induction of hydel power into the system would
reduce the dependence on costly thermal power which will provide
a substantial relief to the masses, he added.
      About other major hydel power initiatives of the government,
the Prime Minister mentioned Diamer-Basha Dam (4500 MW), Dasu
(4320 MW) and Bunji (7100 MW) and stated that he had already directed
the Ministry of Water and Power and other concerned organizations
to accelerate these projects.
      Chairman WAPDA Syed Raghib Ali Shah briefed the Prime Minister
about the project and highlighted its salient features.
      The Prime Minister was informed that the capacity of Tarbela
Hydel Power Station would increase from existing 3478 MW to 4888 MW
after the completion of the 4th Extension. The project, thus, would
add 1410 MW of cheap hydel electricity of the national grid.
      On this occasion, he appreciated the World Bank for financial
assistance of $ 840 million for construction of this project.
      The Prime Minister was briefed that the Tarbela 4th Extension
Project will contribute about 4 billion units of low-cost and
environment-friendly electricity to the national power system
every year.
      Annual monetary benefit of the project has been estimated
to be Rs. 30 billion and it will pay back the cost incurred on
its construction in a short span of three years.
      He was told that the project will be completed in a period
of three and a half years.
      The Prime Minister said that the delays, over-costing and
escalations would not be tolerated in the project.
      He was told that as per initial study, Tarbela-V Extension
Project will generate 1320 MW electricity and Austrian Government
has shown its keen interest to finance the project.
      The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Water and Power
to take up feasibility of Tarbela-V Extension Project and both
Tarbela IV and V projects be started simultaneously.
      It was highlighted that WAPDA was looking forward to savings
of around US 200 million dollars from the Fourth Expansion Project
and was approaching the World Bank for roll-over of funds into
the Tunnel 5 Project.
      The Prime Minister directed that in view the severe shortage
of electricity in the country, there was a need for fast paced work
on Tunnels 4 and 5 simultaneously. He asked Chairman WAPDA to
conduct a feasibility in this regard.
      Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed that all efforts be
undertaken to ensure that the project be completed before the
scheduled time in 2016, instead of 2017.
      The Chairman said due to the liability of WAPDA to provide
irrigational water for the crops, it was difficult to get an
earlier completion, however he assured that all aspects will be
studied to bring the completion date earlier.
      He said that the new hydropower plant will be added to the
existing water tunnel No 4, that was initially designated as an
irrigation tunnel, and will now be converted into a power tunnel
without affecting its irrigation capabilities.
      Under the project three generating units of 470 MW each will
be installed.
      Already 14 power units have been installed on 3 tunnels that
are generating 3478 MWs.
      The Chairman WAPDA later told APP that the per unit cost
through the project was estimated to be about Rs 2 per unit as
compared to around Rs 18 by thermal generation.
      He termed it an environment-friendly project that fully
complied with international safeguards and no additional land
would be required or fresh resettlement issue would crop up.
      On completion, the project was expected to add 3.84 billion
units of low cost electricity to the national grid per annum. The
annual benefit of the project was estimated to be about Rs 30.7
billion that will pay back its cost in only three years.
      The project would also save approximately one million tons of
furnace oil, that would be required for generating an equal amount
of electricity.
      Completed in 1974, the Tarbela Dam is the world's largest
earth- and rock-filled structure, over the Indus River. Initially
its installed capacity was 700 MW, that was later raised to 3,478
MW.
      Tarbela Dam's existing hydropower facilities supply about 16%
of the electricity generated in Pakistan.
      Later, Secretary Interprovincial Coordination (IPC) Ijaz
Chaudhry also gave a briefing to the Prime Minister on development
of tourist site in Tarbela.
     The Prime Minister was informed that three sites had been
identified for development of water sports, theme park, restaurant
and water jetty.
      The Prime Minister directed to perform a legal review of the
devolution of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC).
      The Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister for Information
Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif and
Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf.