The Minister for Water and Power has hoped that the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam will start this year and various countries have expressed interest in financing the mega project costing $14 billion.The minister has already inaugurated a $1.8 billion Suki Kinari hydropower project which is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework.The project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is expected to add 3,081GWh units of electricity each year to the national grid by 2022. The provincial government will earn around Rs1.3 billion each year as water use charges. The project is being developed on a build-own-operate-transfer basis under the Power Policy 2002 and will be transferred to the province in 30 years.Various other thermal power projects,which will be operated on re-gasified liquefied natural gas,are in the testing phases and nearly 1000 MW Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project will start electricity generation in six months. Besides, the federal government has prepared the draft of national water policy and is going to send it to the Council of Common Interests for formal approval. The Nandipur power project, which got media hype, will be converted on to natural gas by April this year.
The country has been facing severe energy crisis for the last several decades which has not only affected the industrial production of the country but also every field of life. Electricity is the basic requirement in modern age and Pakistan being the sixth largest country of the world has been in severe grip of load shedding which has not only eroded the industrial base but also affected the quality of life of the people. The rising cost of electricity has increased the cost of production, making it impossible for the Pakistani entrepreneurs to compete in the international market. The water policy was also the need of the hour as the current Indian government has been showing hostile posture since it came to power two years ago. There is no hope for normalization of relations with India as it has started building dams on the rivers in violation of the Indus Water Treaty. Without considering the consequences of the violation of international laws, the present Indian government is bent upon spoiling peace in the region and jeopardizing other international commitments which Pakistan is still horouring, including the TAPI gas pipeline project.
It is hoped the new electricity projects will be completed within their schedules and will cater to the energy needs of the country to a large extent.The government should also pay attention to other sectors not only to improve industrial activities but also stimulate the economy.It it’s the time the government should restore the trust of the people in its abilities.