FPCCI welcome Pakistan-China deal to build 700MW Azad Pattan Hydel project July 08, 2020

FPCCI welcome Pakistan-China deal to build 700MW Azad Pattan Hydel project July 08, 2020

ISLAMABAD-Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Anjum Nisar on Wednesday welcomed Pakistan-China agreement for construction of Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project of 700MW of electricity, as part of the CPEC, suggesting the government to include more hydro-power projects in its plan, as the country cannot afford to rely on costly and anti-environment fossil fuels.

Talking to media here, he added, “FPCCI is hopeful that the project, located on River Jhelum, will be completed within its time frame in 2026, and will not be delayed like several other hydro-power projects in the country.”

"It’s a good news for the public in general and business community in particular, as the new project would enable the country to move towards cheaper and greener power, inviting investment of $1.5 billion besides generating local job opportunities", he added.

Anjum Nisar claimed that as much as 20 million acres of barren land can be brought under cultivation if water could be made available by developing water storages in the country.

He said with the construction of dams, the country can strengthen its agriculture to attain food security and cope with the fast-growing needs of water in domestic and industrial sectors, besides injecting sizeable low-cost hydroelectricity into the national grid to stabilize the national economy.

He endorsed the government’s future plan in this regard, saying a summary was being moved by the Power Division to the Economic Coordination Committee for the approval of Kohala Hydropower Project, and Azad Pattan Hydropower Project as well as Mahl Hydropower project, all on Jhelum River, which would prove to be a milestone in the country’s development and prosperity.

He urged speedy work on other power projects including Shargthang, Hanzal, Chilas, Naltar, and Hassanabad Hunza, besides early construction of Kalabagh Dam which is the most suitable project for the national economy as it would produce cheap and sufficient electricity,he added.

FPCCI President, referring to the factors behind the current scenario of water and hydro-power sectors in the country, observed that the situation can be improved by putting a robust development mechanism in place and exercising prompt decision making. All stakeholders including the business community were ready to play their due role to implement the National Water Policy for water, food, and energy security of the country, he assured.

He said that Kalabagh dam should not be ignored as water scarcity was increasing. "Those opposing the Kalabagh Dam are unaware of the ground realities,” he said, and added ,"how can a mega water project be harmful for an agrarian country?"

He said that one million acre-feet of water gives benefit valued at $2 billion annually to the economy, while Pakistan is throwing away 35 million acre-feet of water by delaying construction of the dam. "This means that we are wasting $70 billion a year, which is almost equal to the country’s external debt", he added.

He maintained that hydro-power is the most advanced and mature renewable energy technology and provides  electricity generation in more than 160 countries worldwide. "Moreover, hydro-power is an attractive renewable option given the low-cost of electricity it produces, low greenhouse gas emissions, and the flexibility it provides to the grid".

He observed that Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has constantly been issuing warnings to the government on water scarcity and urged that all the allocations of PSDP be spent on enhancing water storage capacity. He said that Pakistan would have to develop mega and small dams to store water if it wants to avert a water crisis in the coming years.

FPCCI appreciated that despite the prevailing situation of COVID-19 in the country, the mega project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor was being moved forward with full force and hoped that more projects under CPEC would be signed in the future.

“We fully support the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to which the country is going to move forward to produce clean and cheaper electricity instead of utilizing the expensive imported fuel. Under the vision of the prime minister,