ISLAMABAD: Chinese companies will be investing $35 billion in 19 power projects which will generate 12,134 MW of electricity under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, said Secretary Water and Power, Mohammad Younis Dagha on Thursday.

During a presentation to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Mr Dagha said Chinese companies will also be investing in five coal projects in Thar, four imported coal projects, four wind power projects, three hydro power projects and one solar power project along with a 660 KV transmission line between Sindh and Punjab.

The meeting was told that due to the Thar coal projects, Sindh will be able to contribute 3,960 MW to the national grid, the imported coal project will contribute 4,260 MW, the hydro project will contribute 2,714 MW, the solar project will contribute 900 MW and the wind power project will add 300 MW to the national grid.

Sindh will be getting the lion’s share of this energy at 5,580 MW, Punjab will be given 2,940 MW, Balochistan will be given 1,620 MW, Azad Jammu and Kashmir will be given 1,124 MW and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be given 870 MW.

Members of the committee asked if the existing railway infrastructure will be able to transport coal for the energy project to which Secretary Planning Division Yousaf Naseem Khokar said that Chinese companies are also investing in and providing loans for the up-gradation of railway tracks from Peshawar to Karachi and that the matter is being discussed between Pakistani and Chinese officials. He said the updradation of the ML-1 track from Peshawar to Karachi will cost $8.2 billion.

After a query by PAC member Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Mr Dagha said major parts of Balochistan will be give relief from power loadshedding by the end of the year. He said efforts were being made to connect Gawadar with the national grid and a 300 MW project has also been planned for Gawadar city.

In regards to the overall requirement of electricity, Mr Dagha said: “At present we have 20,000 MW of electricity in the system”. He said that 6,000 MW will be added to the grid by the end of 2018.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2017