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Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project: An Engineering Marvel

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“And We Have Made From Water Every Living Thing”  Al Qur'an (21:30)

Energy and water are the prime movers of human life, though deficient in oil and gas, Pakistan has abundant water and other energy sources like hydel power, coal, wind and solar power.

Apart from its strategic and geographical importance ALLAH has gifted Pakistan with unlimited Hydel resources that no other country in the region can even image. The hydro-power potential in Pakistan is over 100,000 MW with identified sites of 59000 MW. Currently, studies under way include Diamer Basha (4500 MW), Bunji (7100 MW) and Kohala (1100 MW) amongst many others.

Neelum-Jhelum hydro power project is also one of these projects which is now a days at the priority above all other national projects because of its strategic importance for Pakistan and Pakistan want it to be completed before the consruction of Kashanganga Dam, which if constructed before the Pakistan does it will deprive Pakistan from getting its illegal claim on Indus water treaty (1960).

According to Indus water treaty Pakistan has given explicit power western rivers, while has got power over eastern rivers and no one will violet the treaty. But the India has violated this treaty so many times by constructing plenty of dams on western rivers such as Bagliar Dam, Kashan Ganga Dam etc, the only aim of India behind this is just to destroy the economical, financial, Hydel and agricultural growth of Pakistan.

Pakistan got right over River Jehlum as per Treaty but India is constructing Kashan Ganga Dam in Indian occupied Kashmir which is again a serious violation of Indus water treaty. Pakistan took the matter to the court of Arbitration, who later on passed a unanimous order on Pakistan’s application for interim measures on the construction of Kishanganga Dam by India in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) in which the court ruled that India will

Neelam Jhelum Hydro Power Project

not proceed with the construction of any permanent works on or above the Kishanganga/Neelum River bed at the Gurez site that may inhibit the restoration of the flow of the river to its natural channel.

Neelum Jhelum Hydropower project is one of such project which will not only fulfill our energy requirements but will also provide employments for our people. The Project will be completed before time by imported machinery.  Neelum – Jhelum hydro-power project is likely to be completed around two years ahead of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) has now reached the site. The TBM, the cost to RS:8 Billion imported from Germany, and will accelerate  a mile long tunnel excavation of water. Pakistan will use mechanical tunneling of high-tech country. so that the project to be on a clock, to ensure that the process of construction of the project was completed in June 2016. The project is under construction on Neelum Jhelum River, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The project will provide about (969 MW) 515 million units of electricity per year to the national grid. The annual income of the project was estimated at 100 million yuan in the Rs : 45.

On the ground, however, the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project seems to be an engineering marvel, the completion of which will not only provide 969MW of cheap electricity to the national grid, but also secure Pakistan’s water rights over the Neelum River, currently under threat from India’s water aggression.

Location and Salient Feathers

Neelum Jhelum Hydroelectric Project is located in the vicinity Muzaffarabad (AJ&K). It envisages the diversion of Neelum river water through a tunnel out falling into Jhelum River. The intake Neelum Jhelum is at Nauseri 41 Km East of Muzaffarabad. The Powerhouse will be constructed at Chatter Kalas, 22 Km South of Muzaffarabad. After passing through the turbines the water will be released into Jhelum River about 4 Km South of Chatter Kalas. Neelum Jhelum Hydroelectric Project has installed capacity of 969 MW. The Project will produce 5.15 Billion units of electricity annually.

A concrete gravity dam 135 m long and 47 m high will be constructed on Neelum River at Nauseri. The dam is designed for over-topping. The dam will create a head pond of 8 million cubic meters which will allow a peaking reservoir of 2.8 million cubic meters to meet daily peaking of power for more than 4 hours. A six gate tunnel intake structure of 280 cumec capacity, will be connected with three conventional flushing surface basins installed at their endfor taking sediment back in to the river.

The total length of head race tunnel is 28.5 Km. A 15.1 Km stretch of the tunnel from the Nauseri be constructed as a twin tunnel system each with x-section of 43 Sq.m. The remaining head race tunnel down to the surge chamber will be a single tunnel having x-section of 82 Sq.m The tunnels are shotcrete lined with a concrete invert. The tunnel crosses Jhelum River approximately 380 m below its bed. The tunnel will be accessed by 7 Adits for removal of excavated soil.

The Surge Chamber consist of 341 m high riser shaft and 820 m long surge tunnel, Four steel lined Penstock tunnels 154 m long and having 3.8 m internal diameter will also be constructed. The underground power Station will have 4 units with a total capacity of 969 MW. The Power Station will be connected by with Rawat Grid station through 500KV double circuit transmission line.


Tunnels/Other Works


Total Works

Completed Works

Progress %

Lot C-1 Nauseri

Access Tunnel (A1)






Diversion Tunnel






Head-race Tunnel (Single/Twin)






Dam Excavation






Desander Excavation






U/S Coffer Dam (RCC + Hard fill)





Lot C-2 Majhoi

Headrace Tunnel (Single/Twin)






Access Tunnels (A2,A3,A4) & Junctions





Lot C-3 Chattar Kalas

Headrace Tunnel (Single)






Tailrace Tunnel






Access Tunnels (A5,A6,A7) & Others






Power House Excavation






Transformer Hall Excavation





Total Headrace Tunnel (C1+C2+C3)





Diversion Tunnel at Neelum-Jhelum Power Plant

Physical Progress and TBMs

Of the combined 55km length of the tunnel, about 18km is now complete, including eight smaller tunnels. The 32-km main tunnel, which is to divert Neelum waters from Nauseri to Chattar Kalas, has achieved about 4km progress.

The mighty Neelum has already been diverted through smaller 500-metre diversion tunnel to dry out the riverbed for construction of 786-foot dam that is currently in progress. With just 30 per cent physical progress, the project has already started to change Azad Kashmir’s landscape. A few kilometers from the Line of Control, 41km off Azad Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad where even the armed forced used to have access through a narrow jeepable track often blocked by landslides and snow, a small locality of Nauseri, in the Neelum Valley, now has wide carpeted access road.

With this, hundreds of locals are getting on-job training, dozens of others being trained for tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in Germany and many others setting up businesses around the project area.

All other components of the project are either ahead of schedule or on time, the chief executive officer of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Company (NJHC) said a special-purpose vehicle created for the project implementation.

About 22-km downstream Muzaffarabad at Chattar Kalas, a mock exercise has just been completed for transportation of the country’s first TBM on a 70-ton 64 wheeler.

The introduction of TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) that would advance the project completion by up to 24 months, originally lost to bureaucratic and political indecisiveness, is expected to revolutionize tunnel excavation techniques in Pakistan. In comparison, there are about 22 TBMs currently in operation in India.

The TBM will expedite the construction of 32-km tunnel that has to pass 400-metre underneath the Jhelum riverbed to reach Chattar Kalas where an underground powerhouse will be located to dispatch 5.15 billion units of electricity per annum to national grid at Ghakkar Mandi near Gujranwala.

Project Return Rate

The project offers robust returns of about 22.5 per cent which meant the project cost could be recovered within 7 years after completion by mid-2016. Even with increased cost, the average electricity generation cost has been estimated at about Rs2 per unit after first eight years of interest repayment.


The contract for the project was awarded to a Chinese contractor (CGGC-CMEC) in Dec 2007. On the other hand, India planned to construct 18 hydro power projects along Neelum and Jhelum rivers, providing it with freedom to divert Neelum waters towards Wullar Lake in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty.

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