Mangla Dam royalty de-linked from power bills payment
30 April 2005
Muzaffarabad: Payment of Mangla Dam royalty to AJK government by Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) would be de-linked from payment of electricity bills by the former to the latter, AJK electricity department spokesman said here on Saturday. The decision, according to the spokesman, was taken at a meeting between AJK chief secretary and chairman Wapda which was also attended by the secretary, the chief engineer, the director general of AJK electricity department, managing director AJK Hydro Electric Board (HEB), director general AJK private power cell and representatives of the finance department. Following the meeting, Wapda released Rs120-million royalty to the AJK government, the spokesman said, recalling that previously the utility had been making at-source deduction to adjust its outstanding power dues which disturbed the AJK government’s financial balance. Furthermore, the spokesman said, Wapda chairman had also agreed in principle that “late payment surcharge” would not be levied on the AJK government and that the issue of “water charges” would be settled at the federal government level. On their part, the AJK chief secretary and secretary electricity pledged that they would ensure payment of power bills to Wapda on monthly basis. The meeting also decided to provide inter-connection facility from Wapda grid stations to the power projects in private sector with a view to encouraging the private investors towards tapping rich hydropower potential in AJK. It was further decided that Wapda would receive nominal service charges for provision of inter-connection facility, the spokesman added. He said the meeting also discussed Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project and decided that in view of its sensitivity Wapda would provide the draft agreement to the AJK government so as to ascertain its opinion-suggestions on it. At the meeting, the chairman Wapda announced donation of two hydropower units, each with a capacity of 600 kv, to the AJK Hydro Electric Board. The meeting also reviewed the projects aimed at increasing capacity of the existing grid stations and speedy completion of under construction or new grid stations to improve power supply to different areas of the state, the spokesman said. It was agreed that augmentation of capacity of the Kotli grid station and installation of additional transformers at Muzaffarabad and Mirpur grid stations would be finished by the end of May 2005 and the remaining work on 132-kv Mangla-Mirpur double circuit transmission line and Trarkhal grid station would be completed at the earliest, he added. The spokesman said the Wapda chief also promised that Khuiratta grid station would be completed on priority basis to rid the consumers in Kotli district of electricity problems.