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LAHORE: The provincial government has allocated the same allocation for the energy sector in the financial year of 2017-17 as was in the ongoing 2016-17 - Rs9 billion.

In 2015-16 budget, the government had proposed Rs31 billion allocations for the sector that were considerably reduced to Rs9 billion in 2016-17.

According to the 2015-16 budget, Rs31 billion was allocated to the energy sector and major programmes included: the establishment of the RLNG power project in Bhikki (Rs15 billion), establishment of coal-based power projects (Rs9 billion) and the development of a hydel power project under REDSIP (Rs3.5 billion).

In the 2016-17 budget, allocations for the energy sector were rationalised to Rs9 billion in the public sector, which included Rs4.63 billion for the hydel power project under the REDSIP, energy development fund (Rs2 billion), energy efficiency and conservation of programmne (Rs950 million), construction of a spur line for the Sahiwal power project (Rs250 million) and the construction of an energy resource centre (Rs250 million).

“For the financial year of 2017-18, an allocation of Rs9 billion is being made to the sector”, reads the 2017-18 budget document. “The energy department has launched Khadim-i-Punjab Ujala Programme throughout the Punjab. The aim of the project is to solarise 10,000 schools all over the Punjab. Therefore Rs3 billion is being proposed for the mega project. The said amount will be reimbursed by the foreign donors - ADP, AFD and DLIs.”

The major target and initiatives for the next financial year include the completion of renewable energy development sector investment programme - hydel power generation project at Marala, Pakpattan, Chainwali and Deg Nullah Outfall to add 20MW energy to national grid, installation of AMI meters in government electricity billing, the provision of enabling environment for private investment to develop small, mini and micro power projects, commencement of the 135MW Taunsa hydel power project, a bio-mass power project in Faislabad, the Energy Resource Centre in Lahore and the execution of Khadm-e-Punjab Ujala Programme to solarise 20,000 schools in Punjab.

“In conjugation to federal efforts to bridge the current shortfall of electricity and to support tremendously growing future demand, the Punjab government has taken multiple initiatives both in the public and private sectors to promote and strengthen power industry in the province. The government has also succeeded to attract private investment in the energy sector and several power projects are underway. These projects are scheduled on fast track completion within two to three years and over 8,000MW will be added to the national grid by these private sector projects. In addition to the public sector spending, the provincial energy department has established one window service and fast track and transparent processing to streamline the private investment in the area of energy sector”, reads the budget document.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2017