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April 4, 2019

Govt raises AJK water usage charges to Rs1.10/kwh


April 4, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government has jacked up the water usage charges for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to Rs1.10/ kilowatt hour (kwh) under the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Electric Project (NJHEP), a move that will boost the accumulative revenue for the Pakistan-administered state to Rs11 billion a year, a minister said on Wednesday.

“Earlier AJK was getting Rs70 million for the water usage charges at the rate of 25 paisa per unit but now it has been brought at par with the other provinces,” Faisal Vawda, federal minister for water resources, said addressing a press conference.

The minister said previous government in 2016 increased Net Hydel Profit (NHP) for other provinces; however AJ&K was neglected.

“The government, without further delays, decided to bring AJ&K at par with other provinces in terms of NHP

and got an approval from the cabinet for the same,” Vawda said.

“We were thinking above political prejudice or party politics, therefore we have decided to increase the AJ&K water charges.”

Appreciating the Neelum Jhelum hydro project that was completed during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government, the minister said the project was efficiently generating electricity and would be earning Rs50 billion per year.

Regarding water shortage in Sindh and the shutter down strikes in some rural Sindh districts, Vawda said he wouldn’t comment on the issue as after 18th amendment it was a provincial matter.

The minister said he had received some complaints about the water theft from Hub dam. “I have learnt that some diversion lines have been built and water is being stolen there. I will be visiting the area myself next week, to confirm the complaints,” the minister said.

On the issue of illegal hydrants in Karachi, the minister said they had compiled a list of illegal hydrants and he would raise the issue with the provincial government.

The minister said he would prefer to have a joint raid on the illegal hydrants and if they refused “I will be doing it individually”.

On the recent Pakistan Indus Water Commission delegation visit to India, he said unexpectedly it was successful; the team visited the dam site in cooperative.”Overall I am satisfied without team and the Indian behavior,” he said.

Replying to a question on the super flood warning, the minister said after 18th amendment it was the provincial subject and “we have done our part of the preparations and addressed the provinces regarding their work”.

Vawda also said preliminary work on Mohmand dam had already been initiated and Prime Minister Imran Khan

would break the ground for the project as soon as he was available.

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