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ISLAMABAD: The government said on Monday that over Rs3 billion including the cost of consultancy services is needed for removing the blockage of 969-MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Power Project.

This was stated by the senior official of the project during a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources presided over by Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, in the absence of its chairman Yousaf Talpur.

The members of the committee were also told that even four years after the completion of the project its PV-IV has not yet been completed. Upon this, the chairman asked about the number of directors of the project and he was informed that there were four directors.

The meeting was informed that one director has been retired, whereas, remaining are in the country. The committee sought names of the project directors from the Ministry of Water Resources and the chief executive officer of the NJHP project.

Tunnel collapse: NJHEP CEO alludes to ‘lapses’ in design

The committee was informed that the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Power Project is closed consequent to the collapse of the drainage tunnel between the power house and the river Jhelum. The committee was informed that Rs2.69 billion would be the cost on opening of the blockage of the tunnel plus, daily work and consultancy service cost would be Rs415 million.

The meeting was also told that the project has been operational since 2018 and during the last four years generated 1,600 billion units. About the daily losses following the closure of the project, the meeting was informed that daily loss of generation varies as it solely depends upon the availability of water.

During high flow season, when plenty of water is available, the NJHP contributes to peak capacity of 969 MW; however, during low flow season, power production considerably (up to 100 MW). Annual generation from plant is 4,663 GWh, the meeting was further told.

A copy of the briefing noted that excessive leakage was observed in the powerhouse on July 4, 2022, and project consultants on July 5, 2022, concluded that abnormal increase in tailrace tunnel (TRT) pressure and water leakages/ seepage in the powerhouse are due to some blockage in TRT. In order to save powerhouse and equipment, units were shutdown gradually on July 5 and complete shutdown on July 6, 2022. Subsequently, TORs for the Independent Panel of Experts (IPOE) were finalised by inter-ministerial committee as per directives of the prime minister of Pakistan and accordingly, five members the IPOE was engaged in September 2022 for ascertaining, the causes of blockage.

The IPOEs have submitted two interim reports in October and November 2022 and their opinion was that there could be 11 different possibilities triggering the blockage and not a single postulated root cause would be sufficient to cause a tunnel collapse of the magnitude of the one observed in Tailrace Tunnel. The IPOE has given certain advices and recommendations for the remedial works.

The meeting was also apprised that for the remedial works a contract has been awarded to China Gezhouba Group of Company (CGGC) and also additional consultancy services have been agreed with the existing project consultant with remedial works cost of Rs2.69 billion plus, day work and consultancy services cost of Rs415 million.

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Itlaque Ahmed Khan Jan 10, 2023 11:16am
Dear Sir, First of all, nothing explain that what is reason for blockage, and it is due to the wrong design or any wrong construction procedure. Further, who is responsible for this disaster. I need to understand nature of blockage and how this blockage be remove and all expert accepted the procedure for repair? Regards, Itlaque Ahmed Khan Saudi Aramco Approved Mechanical Inspector.
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