According to the reports of a national daily, Secretary Electricity Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Zafar Mahmood Khan, and CEO Azad Pattan Power Private Limited, Li Xiaotao, signed the agreements on Tuesday to build a 700MW hydropower project on Jhelum River in Kashmir. Before this, the two parties had already signed other relevant agreements in July.
The project site is situated 90 kilometers from the capital city, Islamabad. Regarding the signing of the agreement, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement, “Today’s development will further pave the way for the achievement of the financial close of the project.”
The hydropower project will have an estimated investment of more than $1.35 billion and is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The majority shareholders of the project are China Gezhouba Group and Laraib Group Pakistan. The consortium of lenders for this hydropower project includes China Development Bank, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Bank of China.
One of the targeted benefits of this project is the reduced dependence on imported fuel. This project will help the country to move towards cheaper and greener power generation.
Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has also issued a letter of support to the project, which is a run-off-the-river scheme on River Jhelum, located at the dual boundary between districts Bagh and Rawalpindi. PPIB is also carrying out the Azad Pattan Project under the Policy for Power Generation Projects 2002.
According to the Ministry of Energy’s statement, the project will bring foreign direct investment and provide approximately 3,266 gigawatt-hour energy per year to the grid by 2027. It will also have spillover economic benefits, such as employment generation and business opportunities to related industries and the locals.
The governments of Kashmir and Punjab will also earn significant revenue through taxes and fees. After the completion of construction work, tourism activities around the reservoir, along with water sports, and fishing will also prove to be revenue-generating avenues.