Neelum-Jhelum Hydro­­power Project Faces Extended Shutdown

After a mishap led to the complete shutdown of the 969-megawatt Neelum-Jhelum Hydro­­power Project (NJHPP) over two months ago, the exact cause of the problem remains shrouded in uncertainty, leaving officials puzzled and the project offline.

Situated near Muzaffar­ab­­ad in Azad Kashmir, the Rs500 billion NJHPP has encountered unforeseen challenges, casting doubts on its operational timeline. Officials familiar with the situation have disclosed to Dawn that the issue appears to be more complex than initially anticipated, potentially prolonging the project’s shutdown for an additional 18 to 24 months.

The significant decline in headrace tunnel pressure (HRT) and the subsequent dewatering of a 17km stretch of the tunnel have raised concerns regarding the magnitude of the problem. Speculations abound, with suggestions of a major crack or collapse within the tunnel, yet a conclusive assessment of the situation remains elusive.

As investigations continue to unravel the root cause of the shutdown, the fate of the NJHPP hangs in the balance, with stakeholders anxiously awaiting clarity on when the project can resume operations and contribute to the region’s energy needs.

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