Neelum-Jhelum Project Becomes the World’s Most Expensive Hydel Project Ever

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved 31 projects worth a staggering Rs 713 billion and with that the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project has become one of the most overbudget and delayed power projects in the world. The cost of electricity from the project is said to cost an unbelievable Rs 13 per unit while the project cost will cross the Rs 500 billion mark.

The CDWP gave its approval for more funds for the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project which will make it the most expensive hydel project undertaking in history.

Eight proposed projects – worth Rs 694.8 billion – were sent to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for review.


The CDWP laid out the following projects;

  • 220 KV Jauharabad substation: The project will cost Rs 3.2 billion after ECNEC approves it.
  • The project for evacuation of 2160MW power from hydropower projects at Rs 75.9 billion cost.
  • 184 km long Faisalabad-Khanewal motorway to be built at a cost of Rs 60.8 billion after ECNEC’s approval.
  • Construction design revision of Lahore-Sialkot motorway set to be connected with Narang Mandi and Narowal Eastern Bypass.
  • Two projects worth Rs 3.3 billion approved in the food and agriculture sector.
  • PTV Terrestrial Digital DTMB Demonstration Project approved at a cost of Rs 2.8 billion.
  • Rs 2 billion approved for building different hospitals in Afghanistan.

CDWP also approved several billion-rupee projects in Captain Safdar’s constituency against Election Commission of Pakistan’s ban on new schemes as well.


Electricity Set to Become More Expensive as Govt Adds 3 Surcharges

Neelum-Jhelum Project

Just like the new Islamabad International Airport project, this one explains the governments’ incompetency and carelessness in completing a project as per schedule and in a proper manner. The airport project finally seems to be completed, but its hard to estimate how many more decades the hydel project will take.

The initial proposal date for this project goes back to 1989 where it was approved at Rs 15.3 billion cost. The authorities’ lack of seriousness kicked in and the project continued facing delays.

In 2015, the project’s cost was revised from Rs 275 billion to stand at a huge Rs 404 billion. In the meantime, the national treasury held the burden of all cost overruns over past three decades. The government has now extended the timeline for the project to June 2018.

Now, after another two years, the cost of the project has been revised upwards yet again to Rs 500.3 billion. The CDWP also approved Rs 100 million for hiring consultants regarding the approval of the project.

Once completed, the electricity coming from the project won’t be cheap. According to current estimates, it will cost Rs 13 per unit, which is more expensive than any other water project in the country and higher than the international cost per unit for water, solar, wind, nuclear and water sourced power projects.


  • Misleading headline. How is it the most expensive hydel project ever. Have you even bothered to check . I just checked for one dam i.e Three Gorges Dam which costed about 27.6 Billion dollars. Thats about 6 times the price of neelam jhelum . I am not challenging the incompetence or corruption in the project . But sweeping statement as the headline is against journalistic and ethical norms.

    • Check how much power it will generate.
      Twenty-six turbines (scheduled for operation in 2008) are designed to produce more than 18,000 megawatts of electricity—twenty times the power of Hoover Dam. In 1993 that figure was thought sufficient to provide an amazing 10 percent of China’s total energy needs.

    • Aur ye ganjay bhai chor kahee k sirf Lahore ki bijli bhi poora na kar saktay itna paisa laga k.

      • Unfortunately the project was started by Mush government and later on after October earth quake engineers recommended design change and then the project stopped. started again with the chinese support and now completed by ganjas.
        cost was bound to increase and this is one of unique project as its underground that too in a hilly area. similar project on the indian side of kashmir was started way back and still not completed. atleast ganjas completed this one.

    • Usually costs associated with hydroelectric dams or any other electric power generation projects are calculated on US$/MW (in millions) and not as a gross amount. In that context, it probably is quite expensive.

  • Why Our Government asked to Chines Engineer how to improve our Electricity Problem : How to Produce low cost Electricity :
    Thy advise us easily and also invest in Power Sector :
    Why our government invest the high cost in energy ?

  • It’s conveying totally different picture. The actual Delay started from the Mush government followed by PPP’s 5 year. PM-N still deserve a pat for seriously working and completing the dam.
    Same Story for Islamabad Air port. Previous governments only did corruption and delayed the project for 8 years. This government not only fixed all the faults of previous design and delays but also completed the project. We should be honest and thorough while criticising. The whole post give the impression that both projects were delayed and over-run by this government, wth no mention of mush and zardari. The fact is just opposit. Be fare please.

  • 220 KV Jauharabad substation: The project will cost Rs 3.2 billion after ECNEC …. DID I READ THAT RIGHT PKR 3.2 BILLION for 220 KV !?!?! which is just 1/5 of a single MW !!!!

  • 220 KV Jauharabad substation: The project will cost Rs 3.2 billion after ECNEC …. DID I READ THAT RIGHT PKR 3.2 BILLION for 220 KV !?!?! which is just 1/5 of a single MW !!!!

  • close