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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) has extended IDA credit meant to finance Tarbela 4 Hydropower Project (T4HP) till June 30, 2023 as around $32.3 million still remains unutilized.

This was conveyed by World Bank’s Country Director, Najy Benhassine, in a letter to Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Dr Kazim Niaz.

According to World Bank Country Director, the Bank conducted an implementation support mission for Tarbela Fourth Extension Hydropower Project (T4Hp) and Tarbela Fifth Extension Hydropower Project (T5HP) during December l7-23, 2022. The Task Team had a series of technical discussions with WAPDA and NTDC in January 2023. The key issues and actions required for improving the project implementation have been mentioned in the letter.

According to the Bank, the T2HP was commissioned in 2018, with cost savings. It produces cheap and clean electricity at a nominal marginal cost. Till December, 2022, T4HP had generated over 18, 500 Gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity. In comparison to power plants running on imported Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG), this implies that T4HP has generated economic benefits over $ 2.4 billion so far, which is about three times the cost of the project.

T4HP: Govt seeks another extension in closing date of World Bank loan

The World Bank has shared following information with the government; (i) based on the letter from EAD, closing date of IDA credit 50790, which finances the T4HP has been extended till June 30, 2023. Around $32.8 million remains unutilized from the IDA credit; (ii) WAPDA should use the remaining IDA credit to close-out the main contracts, purchase equipment and to replace trash-racks in raised intakes of Tunnel 3 and 4. By June 30, 2023, WAPDA should complete all the activities financed by the IDA Credit and; (iii) the civil works contractor should deliver the replacement trash-racks to WAPDA by June 30, 2023.

The World Bank has also appreciated Chairman WAPDA for closely monitoring the operation of the raised intakes, as well as, repair and replacement of the trash-racks.

According to World Bank, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) consented to closing Tunnel 5 for construction duration of 33 months. The leadership from WAPDA was instrumental in obtaining IRSA’s consent. The contractor was given access to Tunnel 5 on September 30, 2022. Power Construction Company of China Limited (PCCCL), the civil works contractor, and Harbin Electric International Company/ Harbin Electric Machinery Company (HEI)/HEC), the electro-mechanical works contractor, have agreed to inter-contract milestones. They envisage completing work on Tunnel 5 in 33 months to operate all generating units of T5HP by September 2025, through the lower intake. The work on raised intake will be completed in May 2027.

WAPDA’s Construction Supervision Consultant (CSC) has received the final schedules from both contractors. The World Bank has requested WAPDA’s management to monitor the following key issues; (i) PCCCL must complete coffer dams in the powerhouse and intake sites, along with at least 150 meters of tailrace culvert before the operation of spillway in July.

The contractor should complete excavation and support work, up to 420 meters, at the intake si1e; (ii) PCCCL must increase mobilization of machinery, plant, experts, and labour at the sites. PCCCL must immediately update CSC and WAPDA of its mobilization plan and; (iii) PCCCL and CSC must accelerate finalization of the construction drawings. HEI/ HEC and CSC must accelerate design submissions and approvals.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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