To tackle the massive crisis of energy in Pakistan, the current government made several promises which included two power projects – Nandipur Power Plant and Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (QASP) project in Bahawalpur.
But after the failure of the federal government’s Nandipur power plant, the Punjab government has started the process of privatisation of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, according to "Exposed", a show on DawnNews.
Read editorial: Nandipur fiasco
The show explores the reasons behind the Punjab government’s plans to privatise the solar project and their inability to provide the promised energy output.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had recently defended the cost and electricity production of the QASP project and dispelled any ‘misconceptions’ regarding the project’s viability.
What prompted the decision to privatise the park?
Anchor Shiraz Hasnat discusses the issue with Punjab government spokesperson Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri, energy expert Arshad Abbasi, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Andleeb Abbas and journalist Anwer Hussain Sumra.
During the discussion Sumra reveals, “The solar park is producing only 18 megawatt of electricity instead of the 100 megawatt that was promised by the provincial government.”
“Bahawalpur’s climate is not suitable for the project. The temperature rises above 45 degrees Celsius which does not produce the required amount of electricity,” said Abbasi.
Criticising the claims made by CM Punjab over the project, PTI leader Andleeb Abbas said, “The solar plant has failed to provide cheap electricity. It has been constructed on a wildlife park, which has disturbed the bio-diversity of the area.”
She further said that her party would take up the issue in the parliament.
The solar plant is an expensive project which is not feasible for Pakistan, according to Arshad Abbasi who explained that, “Like India, we should have set up solar panels on waste lands and focus more on hydro power.”
According to the documents obtained by Exposed, the Punjab Privatisation Board will privatise the shares of the project as per the orders of the Punjab government.
Defending the privatisation, Zaeem Qadri said, “We are divesting the equity from this project, so that we can invest that money in upcoming energy projects.”