ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday performed the ground breaking of Punjab's first coal-fired power plant that will generate 1320 MW and help the country meet its chronic energy shortage.
The project comprising two units of 660 MW each will be operational in two years time and start adding electricity to the national grid by 2016.
The prime minister said the project will not only help meet the electricity shortage, but also create employment for the people of the Sahiwal District and contribute in national Gross Domestic Product.
Prime Minister recalled the love and emotions of the people of the Sahiwal and said “you are being duly rewarded for standing by the PML-N,” and added he was grateful to the people of the Sahiwal for their support.
He said the people of Sahiwal will again benefit from the soon to be inaugurated Lahore to Karachi motorway that will touch the area and bring in more economic opportunities for its people.
He said Rs 55 billion have been allocated for acquisition of the land for building the Lahore Karachi motorway.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sahrif particularly mentioned the tireless efforts and commitment of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for making the dream of a developed Pakistan come true.
He said he met the two investors who were now building the Sahiwal power plant at the Economic Summit in Boao China two months back and within a short time the initial work for the ground breaking of the project was accomplished.
He said if a project can start in only two months time then there could be no hurdle in its completion in two years time. He hoped the project would bring 30 per cent returns to the investors.
Prime Minister Sharif said the government was toiling day and night to meet the energy shortfall. He regretted that despite 23,000 MW installed capacity in the country, the operational capacity was only around 13,000 MW and vowed that in next eight to ten years his government would double the power generation.
He recalled the inauguration of a similar power project to generate 1320 MW electricity at Port Qasim a few weeks back and would be inaugurating the Nandipur power project on Saturday.
He mentioned the Pakistan-China trade corridor project and termed it a “game changer” for both the countries as the 2700 km long link from Kashgar to Gwadar. He said the highway passing through all the provinces of the country would open up new vistas of development and progress.
He said Rs 35 billion have been allocated for acquisition of land for the Bhasha Dam and the money has already been released. He said the project would generate 4500 MW, while the Dasu dam would also generate an equal amount of electricity and added that with the completion of the Neelum Jhelum project the total installed capacity would almost double from the current generation.
Prime Minister Sharif said he has a dream of turning the Gwadar Port into a Dubai, Singapore or Hong Kong and said it will have a modern shipping port and an international airport.
The Prime Minister mentioned that ten power units will be set up at Gadani, six in Punjab, ten at Thar and hoped the country's energy needs will be fulfilled.
Prime Minister said the economic indicators of the country were positive and GDP has risen to 4.1%, manufacturing up by 5.5% while foreign exchange reserves gone up enormously.
Earlier the Prime Minister performed the ground breaking of the project.