ISLAMABAD: The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding on the use of community infrastructure programs and corporate social responsibility (CSR) belt funds.

The signing ceremony took place here at Kashmir House.

Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi, Chairman of Nepra Tauseef H. Farooqi, Minister of Planning and Development AJK Chaudhry Mohammad Rashid attended the occasion.

The MoU was signed to address environmental and economic issues arising from the Kohala hydropower project, Gulpur and Krut water projects built on rivers.

The MoU was signed by Electricity Secretary Chaudhry Mohammad Tayyab on behalf of Azad Kashmir and Legal Advisor Irfan Gul on behalf of Nepra.

During the signing ceremony, Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi, said tackling environmental issues was one of the top priorities of the government.

He stressed the need for close coordination between state agencies and Nepra for the effective implementation of the MoU.

The Prime Minister said that hydroelectric projects were essential for the growth of the national economy, but that the environmental and social problems arising from these projects must be solved.

He said that there is a need to take concrete steps and that a comprehensive and effective strategy should be formulated in this regard. The change of direction of the rivers has created serious environmental problems in Azad Kashmir and effective planning in this regard is imperative.

Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi stressed that hydroelectric companies should allocate part of their revenues for the welfare of the affected population and the provision of basic equipment and assured Nepra of the government’s full cooperation.

He said that the policies of the PTI government were for the welfare of the people and in the interest of the state.

The prime minister said the government does not believe in announcements and taking practical steps to serve the people to bring about socio-economic changes in people’s lives.

Nepra Chairman Tauseef H. Farooqi assured the full cooperation of Azad Kashmir government and said that NEPRA understands its responsibilities and ensured full cooperation with Azad Kashmir government in matters of CSR and CIP, but also in other related fields.

Posted in Dawn, February 12, 2022

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