Construction work of Balakot Dam begins.

Balakot: The construction work of Balakot Dam has begun, a news source reported. According to officials, the project would generate clean hydroelectricity from the Kunhar River. Following its completion, the dam – also called the Balakot Hydropower project – will provide 300 megawatts (MWs) of additional electric power to the national grid system.

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To this effect, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has appointed a contractor and a consultant to successfully complete the project. Previously, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) had given its approval for the development of the hydropower project.

Earlier this month, ECNEC had received a report by the committee it had constituted. The report stated that in the future, all power projects (regardless of fuel technology used) funded under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) should comply with the tariff regime set by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).

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For this purpose, the departments associated with the power project should apply to NEPRA for tariff determination at the stages of feasibility, Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC), and Commercial Operation Date (COD). The report added that this condition also applied to the Balakot Dam project.

According to reports, Balakot Dam is not the only water reservoir being developed on the Kunhar River. The provincial government is also constructing the Suki Kinari Dam on the river as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.

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The authorities concerned expect to complete the Suki Kinari Dam in 2021. Once completed, it would help the national grid distribute an additional amount of around 870 MWs of power. Further, both dams will also help create more job opportunities for the locals.