CDWP Defers approval of scheme for Dasu project

ISLAMABAD: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on Wednesday deferred approval of Rs132 billion plan for power evacuation from the Dasu hydropower project after a cost overrun of almost 46 per cent, but cleared four other development schemes having a total estimated cost of about Rs126bn.

The meeting of the CDWP was presided over by the Planning Commission’s deputy chairman, Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan.

The meeting also deferred approval of a $200 million World Bank-funded “Pakistan Goes Global” project and asked the authorities to address technical objections.

Officials said the evacuation of power from the 2,160MW Dasu hydropower project (stage-1) could not get through the CDWP as the cost had ballooned to Rs132.3bn from a previous estimate of Rs91bn, approved in July last year. The main reason for the cost increase was reported as a 49pc depreciation in the rupee’s value.

The power division was asked to address a series of questions about requirements for project approval on Aug 18 at a pre-CDWP meeting, but those deficiencies remained unaddressed. It was, therefore, decided not to refer the project to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for approval. The matter will be taken up again for review at the next meeting.

The CDWP approved two projects having a total cost of Rs9.4bn and recommended two other World Bank-funded projects worth Rs116.4bn to the Ecnec for formal approval.

Under the revised financial rules, CDWP is empowered to itself approve projects costing no more than Rs10bn while projects involving higher estimated costs are approved by Ecnec once the CDWP clears them on technical grounds.

As such, the CDWP-approved project of Rs3.63bn “Disaster Climate Resilience Improvement Project AJK” got the nod at the meeting. The main objective of this project is to turn adversity into opportunity and ensure resilience is built into the design of all flood emergency reconstruction projects.

The project also seeks to enhance efficiency of the State Disaster Management Authority, the planning and development department and other nation-building departments so that they could cope with disasters in an effective manner.

The CDWP also approved an energy-related project for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to hire planning consultants and management support consultants for development of the energy sector and institutional strengthening of hydropower and renewable energy departments at a cost of Rs5.77bn.

The objective of the project is to prepare plans, feasibility studies and design studies.

Another energy sector project, construction of a 157MW Madian hydropower project in Swat district under the World Bank-assisted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hydropower & Renewable Energy Development Programme was referred to the Ecnec for approval at an estimated cost of Rs79.798bn. The project is meant for construction of 157MW Madian Hydropower project on Swat River. The project will generate 767.59GWh of affordable energy annually.

The third project in the energy sector, the 88MW Gabral Kalam hydropower project in KP worth Rs36.555bn, was also referred to Ecnec for approval. The project will generate 339.19 GWh of cheap and clean energy annually.

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