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969-MW Neelum Jhelum hydropower project gets boost from China Exim

Neelum River

The Export-Import Bank of China has signed an agreement with the Pakistani government to provide US$448 million for construction of the 969-MW Neelum Jhelum hydropower project, HydroWorld.com has learned.

The project is being developed by Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), which said it hopes to complete the Neelum Jhelum plant by 2016.

"This agreement is a significant development in efforts to secure financial resources for completing the remaining work on the Neelum Jhelum project," a WAPDA release said.

WAPDA said more than 50% of the project's 67 kilometers of tunnel have been excavated, while digging on the underground powerhouse and transformer hall are about 75% and 95% complete, respectively.

The project is being built along the Neelum River, making it part of an international dispute as India's National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) is developing its own project -- the 330-MW Kishanganga -- along the same river.

International treaty stipulates that the country which completes its project first has priority rights to the river's waters, though the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) upheld India's right to divert water from the Neelum in February.

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