FAISALABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated a 40MW coal-based power project at Sitara Chemical Industries Ltd here on Saturday.

The prime minister unveiled the plaque of the project that has been completed in 27 months period costing Rs3.5 billion.

The 40MW power plant is the largest of its kind in the industrial sector of Faisalabad. The plant's boiler is based on circulating fluidised bed combustion technology.

It is equipped with continuous emission monitoring system which monitors 24/7 the emission of the gases in the air to protect the environment.

In his address at the inauguration ceremony, the PM said previous governments must be called to account for energy and economic crises "that dragged the country into darkness".

“In 1960 we were ahead of South Korea in development. In 1990, we were the best in the region. In 1999, we were the top economy in South Asia but in 2013, we stood last,” he said.

He said the government is investing heavily in the energy sector to rid the country of energy deficit by 2018.

"Commissioning of this power plant is a step towards achieving self-reliance in power generation. Such initiatives by the private sector are extremely encouraging and will prove helpful in overcoming the energy shortage in the country," the PM said.

"A policy of energy mix that focuses on diverse sources of energy is earnestly pursued at the government level."

Since the opposition has started re-building pressure on the government over Panama Papers leaks, Model Town killings and corruption issues, the premier has also embarked on what analysts say a mass-contact drive and is frequently inaugurating different development schemes or announcing public welfare plans.

He inaugurated the construction of the Lahore Eastern Bypass at Kala Shah Kaku on the outskirts of the provincial capital a day earlier.

In Faisalabad, the prime minister was accompanied by Punjab Governor Malik Rafiq Rajwana, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir and Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali.

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