The government’s entire energy sector team is reportedly feeling insecure after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif replaced Chairman Wapda, Zafar Mehmood, a former civil bureaucrat, with a Lieutenant General, Muzammal Hussain (retd).
Well informed sources in the Ministry of Water and Power told Business Recorder that the Prime Minister is monitoring energy sector projects personally and has set up a monitoring unit headed by a civil bureaucrat.
On Thursday, Prime Minister chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) at the PM House and sought progress on the targets given to the newly appointed Chairman Wapda with a special reference to expediting work on Neelum Jehlum Hydropower Project and Tarebela-4 extension projects whose slow progress was reportedly the primary reason behind Zafar Mehmood’s exit.
Chairman Wapda Muzammil Hussain briefed the meeting on the status of 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project and 1410 MW Tarebela-4 extension. The total Tarbela generation would then be 4888 MW after Tarbela-4 extension.
He apprised the meeting that during his recent on-site visits an appropriate mechanism has been finalised to complete the project as per schedule.
After fine tuning the essentials and non-essentials, the first unit of NJHPP will be commissioned in February 2018, while the remaining units will be functional before the summer of 2018, the Chairman revealed.
Briefing the meeting on Tarbela-4, Chairman WAPDA said that the first unit of Tarbela-4 will be ready for inauguration by the Prime Minister on 14th August, 2017.
“Appreciating the performance of Chairman WAPDA, the Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction over the progress on NJHPP as well as Tarbela-4.
The Prime Minister directed that utmost transparency be ensured while executing hydropower projects,” says an official announcement.
Younus Dagha, Secretary Water and Power, who according to insiders is also interested in another posting, briefed the meeting on the benchmarks of the ongoing power projects.
The ongoing power projects including clean energy projects, coal fired power plants and LNG power plants will add a significant electricity to the national grid during the year 2017 and before March 2018.
The meeting was informed that nine power projects of over 1000MW including 330MW (Wind) and 680MW (Nuclear) are ready for inauguration by the Prime Minister.
It was further revealed that the Thar-Matiari and Port Qasim-Matiari Transmission Line projects are also ready for ground-breaking by the Prime Minister.
The meeting was informed that construction schedule of LNG power plants is on track and LNG based power plant at Bhikki will be completed well ahead of time.
Secretary Water and Power gave a comprehensive analysis of demand and supply of electricity in 2018 summer and revealed that approximately 3000 MWs power generation will be surplus by May 2018.
“We will fulfil our commitment to the nation to eliminate load-shedding before the end of our tenure. Any delays must be analysed and appropriate measures be taken to meet the timelines,” an official statement quoted the Prime Minister as stating.
The Prime Minister emphasised effective future planning simultaneously with the timely execution of ongoing power generation projects.
Besides ensuring affordable and sufficient electricity for the people, “we must make arrangements for the future power needs in the wake of increased economic growth and industrial activity,” the Prime Minister stated.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Information Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique, SAPM Tariq Fatemi and other senior government officials. -Business Recorder