October 23, 2016: In what can be termed a significant development towards completion of the strategically important 969 MW-Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) completed the excavation of left tunnel – one of the critical components of the project. The project management achieved this milestone today when it successfully connected the two portions of the left tunnel with an amazing precision. During its mining operation, one of the two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) broke through the left tunnel from downstream side joining it with the portion which had already been excavated through traditional drill-and-blast method from the upstream side.
With this development, the left tunnel system from dam to powerhouse stands excavated. The right tunnel system is scheduled to be excavated by April 2017. Thereafter, the water way system would go for final phase of completion. Once this is done, the project will be ready for pressurizing the tunnel system, culminating into wet testing i.e. electricity generation from the project, which is expected in early 2018.
In order to celebrate this landmark achievement vis-à-vis left tunnel, Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP) management arranged a simple ceremony at the breakthrough site, inside the tunnel about 6-kilometre from its starting point from upstream side, wherein WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (R), performed the connectivity of the two sections of the left tunnel. NJHP Chief Executive Officer, Project Director and representatives of the consultants and the contractors were also present on the occasion.
While congratulating the project management, the consultants and the contractors on completing excavation of the left tunnel, the Chairman said that Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is an important project to overcome electricity shortages in the country and add environment-friendly and low-cost hydel electricity to the National Grid. He expressed the hope that with commitment and concerted efforts of the present management of WAPDA, this project will be completed in the shortest possible time.
WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (R) thanked the Federal Government for its support in construction of the project. He apprised the audience that with a view to completing the remaining works of critical nature at Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, the targets have been set by rationalizing their timelines, while an effective mechanism is also now in place to closely monitor the progress on the project.
It is pertinent to mention that for evacuation of electricity from Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project and its injection to the National Grid, a 525-KV transmission line is being constructed by National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), which will join the National Grid at Domeli in district Jhelum through a 145-kilometer long double circuit line. This transmission line will be completed much before Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project goes into operation.