AJK government’s demand for uniform tariff fulfilled

AJK to get additional revenue or Rs. 12 billion

Muzaffarabad,(Parliament Times):  The government of the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir will get an additional revenue of Rs.12 billion per annum after the cost of electricity per unit generated from Hydel power generations plants in AJK has been fixed at Rs.1.10.The decision to this effect was taken after the signing of a fresh Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the representatives of National Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and the government of Azad Kashmir. The MOU was signed on 11 February 2022 at Kashmir House Islamabad. In addition, a tripartite agreement to amend the Mangla Dam Raising Project Agreement 2003 was signed the same day by the Chief Secretary, Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Secretary Water Resources and Chairman WAPDA in the office of the Secretary Water Resources, Government of Pakistan. It may be recalled here that the government of KPK and Punjab, both were getting a net hydel profit of Rs 1.10 per unit for electricity generated from hydropower plants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, while the government of Azad Kashmir has so far received only 15 paisa per unit for power generation from Mangla Power House in Azad Kashmir. The government of Azad Kashmir has since long been demanding uniformity in the tariff. The demand was put on hold for a long time and in 2018 it was decided that the Government of Azad Kashmir will be paid 1.10 per unit against the electricity generated from Mangla and Neelum Jhelum hydropower projects. Pertinently, there are a number of hydel power generating projects in Azad Kashmir are operational/under construction in the private sector under Power Policy 2002 and 2015. The price of electricity generated from these power projects is decided by NEPRA according to its policy. As per the policy, a certain amount of revenue is allocated for the development of the project areas, which is included in the price of electricity. This amount is used for environmental protection under the plan devised and approved by the Department of Environment. However, in the recent past, it has been noticed that the allocated funds were not being utilized properly, so the matter was brought to the notice of NEPRA and it was decided that the Government of Azad Kashmir and NEPRA would jointly undertake the responsibility of monitoring the projects initiated under the Community Investment Plan to ensure transparency. Since the NEPRA has no jurisdiction to undertake any project in Azad Kashmir directly and therefore, a memorandum of understanding was signed keeping in view the role of the committee and the concerned divisions that have been set up by the government. After the formal signing of the MoU, NEPRA and AJK government will now jointly ensure the construction of community investment projects and hydropower projects in Azad Kashmir, whereas billions of rupees will be spent in the liberated territory (AJK) under the supervision of the government institutions. The process will be instrumental in initiating public and social welfare projects and generating economic activity especially in the areas where hydropower projects will be started. The new agreement would not affect electricity consumers in AJK, like consumers in other parts of the country, they will continue to pay their electricity bills as per NEPRA’s fixed tariff

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