MITHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday inaugurated two coal-fired power plants in Tharparkar, describing them as a testament to enduring partnership between China and Pakistan.
Accompanied by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PM Shehbaz while launching the 1,320MW Thar Coal Block-I and Thal Nova 330MW Block-II expressed the hope that the projects would turn the desert into an “economic hub”, Dawn.com reported.
He said that the successful completion of the projects was a testament to the strong partnership between China and Pakistan. CPEC has become a symbol of friendship between the countries and a model for cooperation between developing countries, he added.
The premier said, “We are committed to further strengthening our cooperation and expanding the scope of CPEC.”
Announces hospital for region; Bilawal says with its cheap electricity Thar has started changing Pakistan; Sindh CM says local people deserve free electricity
Mr Sharif set a deadline of April 30 for the water and power ministry to complete the ongoing work on the transmission line so that electricity generated by Thar plants could be linked to the national grid.
The PM thanked the government of China, the companies involved and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for his unflinching support to the Thar coal-mining and power generation project and all those who contributed to the completion of the two plants.
“We are proud of this achievement and remain committed to working together with China to make CPEC a success,” he said.
PM Shehbaz dismissed criticism by certain people against the Thar coal, terming it a blessing with immense potential for power resources that needed to be untapped, Dawn.com reported. He vowed that the coalition government would put in all efforts to materialise CPEC projects, with the agriculture sector as its next phase.
The prime minister announced a hospital for the people of Tharparkar to provide them with medical facilities at their doorsteps.
Mr Sharif condemned Tuesday’s terrorist incident that targeted military personnel and said the “malicious agenda” of the nation’s enemies would be foiled. “No one is above the law and will not be allowed to support terrorists and use them as shields.”
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that those propagating against the Thar coal project had failed while the commitment of Shaheed Mohtarma [Benazir Bhutto] and her party had succeeded. He pointed out that a total of 2,640MW of electricity is being produced with Thar coal.
He said that when the federal and provincial governments worked together such important projects of national importance as the one built in Thar emerged.
He said the slogan “Thar badlega Pakistan” had proved to be true as Thar had started changing Pakistan by generating the cheapest electricity in the country.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that during his visit to the power plant, he met the project employees who had come from every nook and corner of all four provinces.
“In the past, people of Thar used to go to other cities of the province and the country but now people from other provinces and cities and even China have come here for availing employment and business opportunities,” he said.
The PPP chairman thanked Prime Minister Sharif for paying a visit to Thar for a second time.
CM Shah recalled that Benazir Bhutto during her tenure as prime minister had made 40 agreements for launching coal-mining and power generation projects at Thar.
“Had her government’s agreement been honoured Thar would have been producing more than 40,000MW electricity today,” he added.
The chief minister while addressing the PM said that the people of Thar were providing the cheapest electricity to the country and in return, they must be provided free electricity.
“The provincial government is paying the power bills of the people of Islamkot and a similar initiative should be taken by the federal government,” he stressed.
Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir said that under CPEC the development of indigenous resources was a “big step towards self-reliance” which is also valuable for foreign exchange reserves.
MNA Mahesh Kumar Malani, MPA Fakir Sher Mohammad Bilalani, Senator Gian Chand Tharani, Krishna Kumari and others also attended the ceremony.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2023