PESHAWAR, Aug 7: The provincial government has claimed that several international groups have shown interest to invest $30 billion in the energy sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The government planned to launch a modern overhead metro train service and set up a new city in the province, said Rafaqatullah Babar, the chairman of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Investment Cell, here on Wednesday.
Talking to a group of journalists, he claimed that international investment worth $30 billion would help the province to get rid of power loadshedding within the next three to four years.
“Although it has been only one month that we have started working on the challenging assignment of attracting foreign investment into the province, I am certain that the province will become loadshedding-free by the end of 2017,” he said.
About the metro train project in the provincial capital, Mr Babar said that the train track would ideally start from Chamkani village on the outskirts of Peshawar and end at Hayatabad, covering almost the entire G.T. Road or University Road that bisected the city.
He, however, said that the government would need technical experts and international investors to decide that if an overhead or underground metro train would be a feasible option.
“The residents of Peshawar need a serious break from these suffocating traffic jams,” Mr Babar said.
According to him, private investors from China, Australia and Hong Kong have shown willingness to invest in Daral Khwar, Ranolia and Matiltan hydropower projects in district Swat; Sharmai and Koto power projects in Dir and Lawi , Shashgai and Shogosin hydropower projects in Chitral.
“This first injection of foreign investment in the power sector is likely to produce estimated 1533 Mega Watts electricity during the next four years” he said.
Mr Babar said that the government was planning to establish a new city in the province in the near future. “We have started initial work on the establishment of a new city in the province,” he added.
To a question regarding the deteriorating law and order situation in the province, Mr Babar said that business activities were affected badly by terrorism. “Investors are businessmen and they prefer those projects that are financially feasible and profitable to them,” he added.
He said that international investment did not mean that foreigners would be physically required to work on the project sites. “These projects will create massive jobs for local people apart from resolving the loadshedding related problems,” he added.
Mr Babar said that he held an exclusive meeting with a special envoy of the Chinese Embassy last week wherein the critical issues of security to Chinese and foreign investors were discussed at length. “We have communicated to the Chinese Embassy that the chief minister has ordered VIP level security for all the foreign investors from Peshawar to Islamabad whenever they need to pay a visit to the province,” he said.
Mr Babar was of the view that the provincial government was sure to attract investment and start projects for producing up to 2,000 megawatts electricity in the private sector.
According to him, the total potential of the provincial in power production can go up to 50,000 megawatts, however, the current identified hydel potential in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stands at 25,000 megawatts. “If we can properly tap the hydro energy sector, it can yield more than Rs50 billion annual profit for the province,” Mr Babar said.