PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday signed an agreement with a Chinese company for the construction of the 300-megawatt Balakot hydropower project.
The 300MW project — said to be the biggest-ever power generation plant in the province — would be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs85 billion in a period of six years with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank, said an official statement.
At the signing ceremony, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was the chief guest. Officials of the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) and China Gezhouba Group signed the agreement. KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Adviser to CM KP Himayatullah Khan also attended the event along with the high-ups of the energy and power department.
Speaking on the occasion, CM Khan termed the project as of vital importance for the province and a milestone achievement of the provincial government. He said the groundbreaking of the mega-project was expected to be performed by mid-April by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Rs85bn project will be constructed in six years
The project would play an important role in boosting industrial activities, job creation and overall development of the province, he said, adding that during the construction phase, the project would generate around 4,000 job opportunities. Upon completion, it is expected to generate revenue of Rs14bn per annum, he added.
The CM maintained that power generated by Balakot hydropower project would be provided to local industries as well as to domestic consumers at relatively cheap rates.
The incumbent provincial government was taking result-oriented steps under a well-devised strategy to ensure optimum utilisation of the hydropower potential of the province with the aim to meet its energy requirements and strengthen its economy, the chief minister said.
So far various hydropower projects with a total capacity of 160MW have been completed under PEDO, whereas work is in progress on various other projects having a total capacity of 216MW.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2021