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July 20, 2019

France provides €50 million loanfor power rehabilitation projects


July 20, 2019

LAHORE: French government would provide €50 million (Rs9 billion) soft loan and €0.2 million (Rs36 million) grant to Pakistan for rehabilitation of Dargai and Chitral hydropower projects, a statement said on Friday.

The credit facility agreement and grant agreement were signed by Noor Ahmed, secretary economic affairs division (EAD), Marc Barety French ambassador and Jacky Amprou, country director French Agency for Development (AFD). Muhammad Arshad Chaudhry, member (Power) WAPDA and other officers were also present on the occasion.

Funding will allow the modernisation of the two hydel power stations and upgrading of their generation capacity from 20 MW to 22 MW for Dargai Hydel Power Station and from 1 MW to 5 MW for Chitral Hydel Power Station. Malakand and Chitral were one of the remotest districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It will also provide adequate facilities for the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy to meet current and future needs of Chitral and Malakand regions. “This will also result in industrial, agricultural and economic development of these regions,” the statement said.

It said that the project would upgrade the obsolete and vulnerable machinery with state-of-the art-technology, enhance the capacity of the existing Power Stations of Dargai and Chitral, thus enhancing generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity keeping in view the future requirements of the region.

“The project would contribute towards the government of Pakistan’s strategy for utilising the available renewable energy sources for power generation and enhancing their capacities,” it added.

France through the AFD was working in Pakistan to provide technical and financial support in energy sector, where €315 million financial support has been committed since 2016.

“Besides, rehabilitation and up-gradation of the said hydel power stations will contribute to the government of Pakistan’s strategy to develop green energy, reduce green house gasses emission which is very much aligned with French government’s agenda of promoting climate friendly projects.”

It may be mentioned that WAPDA has been implementing a two-pronged strategy for optimal utilization of hydropower resources in Pakistan. Under the strategy, WAPDA has not only initiated new hydropower projects but has also been rehabilitating and upgrading its existing hydel power stations to maximize the ratio of environment friendly and low-cost hydel electricity in the National Grid.

Rehabilitation of Dargai and Chitral Hydel Power Stations is part of the said strategy. Dargai Hydel Power Station located in Malakand was constructed in 1952, while Chitral Hydel Power Station located in Chitral was completed in two phases in 1975 and 1982.

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