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ISLAMABAD: The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Azad Pattan Power Private Limited Tuesday signed agreements for construction of 700.7 MW Azad Pattan Hydropower project as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with an investment of over $ 1.35 billion. Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan, Federal Minister for Power, Omer Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Planning, Asad Umar, Chairman CPEC Authority, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa (R), Chief Secretary AJK, Dr Shahzad Khan Bangash, Managing Director Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) Shah Jahan Mirza, federal and provincial ministers, and others attended the ceremony.

The project agreements comprising GoAJ&K Implementation Agreement (GoAJ&K IA) and GoAJ&K Water Use Agreement (GoAJ&K WUA) were signed by Zafar Mahmood Khan, Secretary Electricity AJ&K and Li Xiaotao, CEO of Azad Pattan Power Private Limited.

The government of Pakistan Implementation Agreement, Government of Punjab Water Use Agreement and Tripartite Power Purchase Agreements of the Project had already been signed in the presence of the Prime Minister of Pakistan in July this year. Today's development will further pave the way for achievement of Financial Close of the Project.

Letter of Support (LoS) was issued by PPIB to Azad Pattan HPP which is a run-off-the river scheme on River Jhelum located at dual boundary between AJ&K (District Bagh) and Punjab (District Rawalpindi). China Gezhouba Group and Laraib Group Pakistan are the shareholders of the project.

The consortium of lenders consist of China Development Bank, China Construction Bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China. Azad Pattan Project is being implemented by PPIB under the Policy for Power Generation Projects 2002 on built, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis for a term of 30 years after which it will be transferred to the GoAJ&K free of cost. The project while bringing in valuable foreign direct investment will provide energy of about 3,266 GWh per year to the national grid by 2027.

The participants of the signing ceremony appreciated the efforts of PPIB for efficient processing of hydropower projects including the Azad Pattan Hydropower Project and urged to continue facilitating investors in the same run for achieving optimum results. Azad Pattan is a part of the fleet of four hydropower projects being processed by PPIB under the CPEC banner out of which 720 MW Karot and 884 MW Suki Kinari hydropower projects are under construction while 1124 MW Kohala project is under process for Financial Closing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020