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Azad Pattan hydel project

Date: 16 July 2020 Tags: India & World

Issue

Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the 700 MW Azad Pattan hydel power project on the Jhelum river in Sudhnoti district of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

 

Background

The project is the second power project under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), for which an agreement has been signed in the last two months. The first agreement was for the Kohala project on the Jhelum near Muzaffarabad.

 

Details

  • According to the EPC agreement, the project is a run-of-the-river scheme with a reservoir located near Muslimabad village, 7 km upstream from the Azad Pattan bridge, in district Sudhnoti, one of the eight districts of PoK.

  • The construction of the project, which was first proposed in 2002, will take 69 months, and the project will be commissioned by 2024. The project will comprise a 90-metre-high dam, with a 3.8 sq km reservoir.

  • The project will be developed on the ‘build, own, operate, transfer’ (BOOT) model. The project will be transferred to the government of Pakistan after 30 years.

  • The Azad Pattan project is one of five hydropower schemes on the Jhelum. Upstream from Azad Pattan are the Mahl, Kohala, and Chakothi Hattian projects; Karot is downstream. Like Kohala and Azad Pattan, Karot too, is being developed under the CPEC framework.

  • The Karot Hydropower station, the third project being executed by China on the Jhelum is on the boundaries of Kotli district in PoK and Rawalpindi district in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

  • Two hydel projects are planned in Gilgit Baltistan – Phandar Hydro Power, and Gilgit KIU. India has protested the construction of dams and other infrastructure in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, which are territories claimed by it as part of Jammu & Kashmir.

 

Kohala project

  • This project is one of the biggest investments by China in PoK. Construction is expected to be complete by 2026. A special purpose vehicle called Kohala Hydro Company Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 2015 by China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited.

  • Residents of Muzaffarabad had protested against the dam in 2018 due to concerns that it would reduce the flow of the Jhelum.

  • China Development Bank is expected to advance an 85 per cent loan for the project, while Habib Bank is to arrange the remainder. Thirty per cent of the financing of the project is through equity.

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