LAHORE The Wapda has decided to deploy the state-of-the-art tunnel boring machines for early completion of the strategically important 969-MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project. Deployment of the machines will reduce the construction time by about two years, resulting in an estimated saving of Rs90 billion. Wapda Chairman Shakil Durrani, speaking about the development during his recent visit to the project site, said the Neelum Jhelum was a priority project of the Wapdas least-cost energy generation plan. Since the project is of a vital importance to the country, the Wapda is taking all possible measures to complete it timely. He also claimed that the TBMs, being imported from Germany by a contractor, were expected to reach Pakistan by January 2012. The Chairman said that completion of the tunnel, aimed at diverting the Neelum River, was a landmark in itself. The diversion tunnel has already been completed. Durrani also inspected the diversion tunnel, built at Nauseri point. He also visited other components of the project including weir site, de-sander and main tunnels, etc. Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company CEO said on the occasion that 27pc of the project had been completed. About 17-km long tunnels have been completed, which included both access and main tunnels, he added. It is pertinent to mention here that the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project was being constructed on the Neelum River in Azad Jammu & Kashmir. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2016. On completion, it will provide about 5.15 billion units of electricity annually to the National Grid.