Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today inaugurated the first privately built hydroelectric power plant in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The 84MW run-of-the river project at Mirpur is also the country`s first green energy project and will be registered with the United Nations? Framework Convention on Climate Change as a clean mechanism development project.
The New Bong Escape Hydro Power Project near Mangla Dam will provide energy to the national grid at half the price of thermal power stations, which provide the bulk of over 18,000 MW needed by Pakistan.
In his speech on the occasion, Sharif described the project as a leap forward in harnessing cheaper energy resources.
He said his government was committed to end energy shortages, which have stalled economic development.
The premier said the first hydropower project by the private sector was a milestone "which will pave the way for construction of similar projects" in PoK and Pakistan, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
Sharif said "Kashmir is the lifeline of Pakistan" and his government wants to develop the region as a model so that its people reap the benefits of development.
The Dawn News channel reported that Asian Development Bank, other lending agencies, including IDB, IFC and Proparco France, and two domestic commercial banks played a role in structuring the project and finance documents.
According to official estimates, Pakistan has the potential to generate 100,000MW of hydropower. Only about 6,500MW of this potential has been harnessed so far.