Rs52bn contract for Dasu power project signed

ISLAMABAD: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has signed a Rs52.5 billion contract with a joint venture of General Electric Hydro China and Power China Zhongnan Engineering Corporation for electro-mechanical works of the Dasu hydropower project (stage-I).

Dasu hydropower project’s general manager and project director Anwar ul Haque and GEHC deputy general manager Aijun Xu — the authorised representative of the joint venture — signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides at a ceremony here on Monday.

French Ambassador Marc Barety, World Bank’s country director Illango Patchamuthu, Chinese and the US diplomats, Water Resources Secretary Mohammad Ashraf and Wapda chairman retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain also attended the ceremony. Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda was conspicuous by his absence, though he was in the city.

The contract covers design, supply and installation of six Francis turbines, generators, main transformers and generator and station service switchgear, along with related equipment.

The Wapda chairman said signing of the contract was an important milestone for the Rs510bn hydropower project. The project, he added, was of vital importance to add a major quantum of hydel electricity to the national grid, minimise reliance on expensive thermal generation and help lower power tariff.

The water resources secretary said the ministry was committed to optimal utilisation of hydropower resources for generating low cost and environment-friendly electricity to meet the country’s energy requirements for economic stability and social development. The Dasu hydropower project, he added, was a manifestation of this commitment.

He praised Gen Hussain and his team for transforming Wapda into a proactive and dynamic organisation, adding that Wapda had been steadfastly moving to harness water and hydropower resources in the country.

The 4,320MW hydropower project is being constructed by Wapda on the Indus upstream of Dasu town in Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project will be completed in two stages — each stage having a generation capacity of 2,160MW. At present, the project’s stage-I is under way, while electricity generation from the project is expected to commence in 2024-25. The stage-I will contribute more than 12 billion units per annum to the national grid. The project’s stage-II will provide 9bn additional units to the system every year.

The World Bank is providing funds for the construction of the project’s stage-I to the tune of $588.4 million and partial credit guarantee of $460m. The remaining funds are being arranged by Wapda from its own resources and with sovereign guarantee of the Pakistan government.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources had last week expressed concern over the slow progress in acquisition of land for the Dasu hydropower project and sought an explanation from the KP government. The committee was informed that only 7.5 per cent of the total 9,875 acres of land had so far been acquired and the cost of land acquisition increased by around 95pc from Rs19bn to Rs37bn.

The project will have 12 units of 360MW each. In the first phase, 2,160MW electricity will be generated by 2023. The project’s first phase started in June 2017. The second phase will begin in 2023 on the completion of the first phase.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2019

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