SAHIWAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday expressed happiness over completion of installation of the first unit of the Sahiwal coal-fired power project six months before schedule and wondered how a corrupt government could have accomplished the feat.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the first unit (660MW) of the project in Qadirabad, he said the unit was completed in a record time of 22 months and the project would reach its total generation capacity of 1,320 MW in June. The project is being constructed at a cost of Rs152 billion.
The prime minister announced payment of a bonus equivalent to one-month salary to the Chinese and Pakistani engineers and workers working at the plant.
He claimed that by 2018, the Pakistan Muslim League-N government would add 10,000 MW to the national grid, which would end power cuts in the country.
Inaugurates first unit of Sahiwal coal-based power project
Mr Sharif said there were no power and gas cuts for industry and all industrial units were running round the clock. He criticised the previous government for failing to give priority to undertaking mega projects and said during its tenure, funds were wasted by re-framing feasibilities of the projects and increasing their costs again and again.
Without naming the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership, he said they were appearing on TV and hurling allegations on a daily basis and hampering the country’s march to progress.
The premier said PTI's confrontational politics would fizzle out in future because “we have stopped responding to false allegations levelled by it”. “Responding to their false allegation is waste of energy. I will not stick to this game and will remain busy in making Pakistan prosperous.”
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said had the PTI not staged a sit-in in Islamabad in 2014 and allowed the Chinese leadership to visit Pakistan in April that year, the Sahiwal plant would have become operational in Dec 2016.
In an apparent reference to Pakistan Peoples Party co- chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, he said “Zar” and “Zardar” did not have the potential to undertake power projects. He said they delayed Neelum-Jhelum, Nandipur and other power projects for 18 years only to increase the projects’ cost and pave way for corruption.
“A dictator inaugurated work on the Bhasha dam but I have been told that even land was not purchased for the project when (the then president) Pervez Musharaf unveiled the inauguration plaque.”
Earlier Prime Minister Sharif inaugurated the first unit of the Sahiwal coal-fired power project and visited different parts of the plant.
Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2017