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Ecnec to approve Rs300bn projects

August 05, 2012


ISLAMABAD, Aug 4: Ecnec is expected to approve funding for 35 projects worth more than Rs300 billion, including multi-billion rupees Tarbela-4 extension hydro power project and Karachi circular railway project at its meeting on Aug 16.

Approval is also expected to be accorded for the much-awaited Rs140 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project. The Sindh Government would arrange funding of the projects itself and it is expected to be initiated during the current fiscal year and planned to be completed by June 2017.

The total cost of the project would be $1.55 billion while 93.5 per cent funding would be provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) while the remaining amount would be arranged by the Sindh government. JICA would provide funding on only 0.2 per cent mark-up, which is payable in 40 years. Under the project, 44km-long dual track would be laid, having 24 stations.

While the system is designed for 100km per hour speed, electric trains would be operated at a speed of 40km per hour, thus completing the entire circular railway loop in an hour.

Out of its route, over 22kms would be elevated and four kilometres would be in tunnels, while the remaining 16kms would be on road surface.

The Tarbela-4 Extension Hydro Power Project’s PC-1 is also on the agenda of the Ecnec meeting and an allocation of Rs83.6 billion is expected to be approved for this project. The project would be completed with World Bank assistance worth $840 million for the fourth project for Tarbela Dam’s extension.

The financing will include $400 million from International Development Association, an affiliate of the World Bank, and the total cost of the project has been estimated at $914 million.

The World Bank has already termed the project a “low-risk, high-reward operation” aimed at providing about 4,000GWh annually of low-cost and low-carbon power.

The project will facilitate a sustainable expansion in the country’s electricity generation capacity with the installation of a 1,410MW hydropower plant on an existing dam with an already constructed tunnel, thus keeping the cost to a minimum and doing away with the social and environmental challenges often associated with large dams.The other main project in the water sector is Nai Ganj Dam to be constructed at Dadu and an allocation of Rs26.9 billion is expected to be approved for the project.

The initial cost of the project in 2009 was estimated at Rs16.9 billion and due to the delay in finalisation of the project, this would now cost Rs26.9 billion for completion.

The meeting is also expected to take up projects in agriculture, housing and physical planning, education, industry, transport, communications and water sectors.