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Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. — AP File Photo

MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf inaugurated on Monday two advanced German tunnel-boring machines for the 969 megawatt Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project.

Speaking at a ceremony held in Majhoi village, about 20km south of here along the Jhelum valley road, he said as minister for water and power he had proposed that work on the project should be speeded up under a plan to overcome the energy crisis. Local journalists were not invited to the ceremony, apparently to avoid questions regarding delay in the signing of a formal agreement with the AJK government and measures to mitigate the adverse environmental effects of the project.

According to a handout issued by the AJK’s Press Information Department, Mr Ashraf said the PPP government was striving to resolve the energy crisis “which was created by inaction of the previous regime”.

He said his government was focusing on development of hydel resources to provide electricity to the people at comparatively cheap rates. He expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for its “unrelenting support” and said ties between the two countries were everlasting.