SAHIWAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday laid the foundation of a landmark coal-based power generation project in the district.
The plant will generate 1,320 megawatts of electricity and bring $1.6 billion dollar foreign investment from two Chinese companies -- China Huaneng and Shandong Ruyi Group. The project is expected to complete in two years.
Addressing a gathering at Qadirabad, the prime minister said it would create more employment opportunities besides adding power to the national grid. He said the Pak-China Economic Corridor (PCEC) would be a “game changer” for both the countries and it would open up new avenues of mega development projects including coal-based power generation plants in Pakistan.
He said the issue of acute power shortage was mind-boggling for the government which was leaving no stone unturned to overcome it.
Rs55bn allocated for new motorway
Elaborating on the PML-N development vision being pursued under the PCEC, he said an express highway of 2,070 kilometres would be developed from Kashgar (China) to Gwadar through Khanjrab, the railways would be upgraded, 10 power plants would be set up at Gadani, six power plants in Punjab and 10 power projects would be carried out in Thar.
Besides, he said, Thar Coal Mining would be developed, two coal-based power generation plants would be set up at Port Qasim and a Lahore-Karachi motorway would be built. The prime minister said Rs55 billion had been allocated (in the upcoming budget) for the acquisition of land for the motorway project.
The government, he said, was striving to undertake Bhasha and Dasu dam projects. He said Rs35 million had been allocated for land acquisition for Bhasha Dam.
He said the country ever since its creation had launched power projects having a capacity of 23,000 megawatt through different sources. But the operational capacity of the installed projects was just 13,000 megawatt, creating shortfalls between 6,000 and 8,000MW. “I assure you Pakistan will generate 21,000MW through the PCEC within next six to eight years,” he told the gathering.
During his brief speech, Mr Sharif focused on the economic performance of the PML-N, avoiding any political statement.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the government had decided to go for coal-based power generation with the support of China as “this is a cheaper source of energy compared to oil”. He said the nation would be pulled out of “darkness” soon.
APP adds: The prime minister will inaugurate the Nandipur power project on Saturday (today).
Published in Dawn, May 31th, 2014