Pakistan: Chinese-built power plant shuts, electricity woes may test Sharif government

IslamabadEdited By: Manas JoshiUpdated: Aug 01, 2022, 07:27 PM IST
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(File photo) Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif Photograph:(PTI)

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Pakistani government has already declared a 'power emergency'. Shutting down of the power plant due to geological failure may add to the power crisis

A big hydro-power plant in Pakistan, built by a Chinese firm on river Neelam has shut down due to geological failure deep inside the tunnel which diverts water to the power plant. This stoppage in the 969 MW power plant is sure to add to woes of Pakistanis who are suffering due to power shortage. Even in big Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore, some areas are facing power cuts lasting for upto 12 and 16 hours.

Pakistani government has already declared a 'power emergency'. There is even a possibility of switching off mobile and internet services due to power shortage. Markets and offices are shutting earlier than usual and public transport is being affected.

The situation is likely to hurt image of incumbent government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Sharif's party is reeling from fresh political setbacks it received in polls in the region of Punjab in Pakistan. 

It is being reported in media that repairs at the Neelum-Jhelum power plant are likely to take six months. This is not the only power plant in Pakistan facing operational difficulties. In April this year, Prime Minister Sharif was informed that 27 power plants with a combined generation capacity of over 7000 megawatts were out of order due to technical faults or fuel shortages

The Neelum-Jhelum power plant was constructed at the cost of 508 billion Pakistani rupees in 2018. Now, a 3.5 km long tunnel is facing blockage.The tunnel is used to pump water from the river to the power plant to generate electricity. The water is afterwards pumped into the tunnel to flow back to the river. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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