The 969 MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project near Muzaffarabad was announced more than 12 years ago but work on it lingered on until ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif vowed in 2013 to build it before the end of five-year tenure of his government.
Though Sharif stepped down last year after disqualification by the Supreme Court his nominee and successor, Abbasi, yesterday lauded his vision and efforts for the project.
As the project was delayed, the cost climbed to USD 5 billion, a three-fold increase to the initial estimates, Abbasi said, adding the project would be fully operational before the end of this year.
Abbasi thanked China for support and also paid tribute to 21 workers who died while working on the project.
Abbasi further said that government added about 10,400 MW power into the system in five years and addressed the chronic power shortage.
Earlier, chief of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Muzammil Hussain, said the NJHPP was conceived some three decades ago but the work was started only after it became evident that India was planning to build Kishanganga project.