The 969MW Neelum Jhelum hydropower project in Azad Jammu and Kashmir has been officially inaugurated by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, with the project having been generating electricity into the grid since 9 April, helping to meet the country’s growing power needs.

The prime minister was accompanied at the inauguration on 13 April by his cabinet members including Barjees Tahir, Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Syed Javed Shah, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Governor Punjab Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Chairman of WAPDA.

AJK President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Farooq Haider Khan were also present on the occasion.

Completed at cost of around $5 billion, the power project comprises four units with generation capacity of 242.25MW each. The first unit was inaugurated during the ceremony with the remaining units to be placed online on a monthly basis, with the plant fully operational by mid 2018.

Dubbed a ‘new wonder of Pakistan’, the power project comprises three components: the dam; a waterway system involving 52km long tunnels; and an underground powerhouse.

Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company is the executing agency of the project on behalf of WAPDA and the government of Pakistan.

The project is a joint venture of five international and national firms as Neelum Jhelum Consultants including Norplan, Stantec, National Engineering Services Pakistan, Associated Consulting Engineers, and National Development Consultants.

The project was executed by a Chinese consortium including China Gezhouba Group Company and China Machinery Engineering Company.