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ISLAMABAD: Expressing confidence that his government will meet the deadline set by it to end electricity loadshedding in the country, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that by 2018 loadshedding will be a story of the past.

He was speaking at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy at the Prime Minister House on Tuesday, which was also attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

After a briefing by the ministry of water and power, the prime minister said, “After the completion of ongoing projects, a significant addition of power to the national grid will eliminate loadshedding in Pakistan for all time to come.”

Earlier, Water and Power Secretary Younus Dagha briefed the committee on the ongoing power projects scheduled to be completed before March 2018.

They include three liquefied natural gas-based plants in Bhikki, Haveli Bahadur Shah and Baloki with the collective capacity of 3,600MW; Chashma 3 and 4 nuclear power plants with the capacity of 340MW each; 400MW Guddu gas-based plant; 250MW Faisalabad plant; 1,320MW imported coal-based Sahiwal plant; and 1,320MW Port Qasim plant. The meeting was also told that several projects based on wind power and bagasse would produce 350MW.

Among the hydel plants in line are Patrind with the capacity of 147MW, Neelum-Jhelum of 969MW and Tarbella 4 Extension of 1,410MW.

The meeting was told that 11,131MW would be added to the national grid by March 2018.

The prime minister also inquired about the state of transmission and distribution network in the country.

He was told that several projects were being executed to improve the transmission system to enable it to smoothly distribute power to be generated by the new plants.

Mr Sharif said that he would personally monitor progress of work on the ongoing power projects and also visit the sites of the projects to ensure their timely completion.

Never in the history of the country such a huge investment had been made into the energy sector, he said. “The government is working not only to meet energy shortfall but also to cater to future needs of the country.”

He said that increased power generation would contribute to economic growth, employment generation, industrial activity and foreign investment.

The meeting was attended by federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2016