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21,000MW of power to be added to national grid: PM Nawaz

07 May, 2014

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PORT QASIM: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that 21,000 megawatt power will be added to the national grid. The people should show patience in the face of loadshedding as the government is leaving no stone unturned to overcome the shortage of power, he added.

He was talking here on Tuesday evening after addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of 660 megawatt coal-based power project that marked the initiation of US$33 billion Economic Corridor, which will be completed in five years and turn around the economy of Pakistan.

The prime minister parried political questions and insisted, "Let us think and work about the elimination of suffering of the people." The power project is being constructed by the Power China and Al Mirqab Group, Qatar. Sindh Governor Dr Isharatul Ebad, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Ministers Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi, Kamran Michael, Abid Sher Ali, Adviser to the Prime Minister and Chairman BOI Miftah Ismail were also present there.

Former Senator Saifur Rehman was seen for the first time since the incumbent government assumed the office. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his address on the Rehman was seen for the first time ever since the incumbent government has assumed the office. Prime Minister Nawaz in his address on the occasion reminded that the idea of coal-based power project was conceived by the present government and practically it had been materialised in about eight months.

The project that will ultimately produce 1,320 megawatt of power has brought investment of US $2 billion. He said that the country had produced 23,000 megawatt power in 65 years while the projects started by the present government would add 21,000 megawatt power in the system.

Nawaz Sharif said that the present government inherited the country that was in darkness, law and order was in a shambles, government kitty was empty and in a way the balance was in negative, poverty and unemployment were prevailing and no field of life was working properly. The government didn't waste a single moment after assuming charge and concentrated on enhancing power capacity. The dream of prosperity couldn't be fulfilled without eliminating shortage of power, he said.

The prime minister claimed that once the projects started by the government were completed Pakistan would be self-sufficient in power generation and it could export it. The projects will also ensure cheap electricity to the consumers, he maintained.

The prime minister paid rich tribute to the Chinese leadership for its generous all-round support for Pakistan. He thanked Qatar Al-Mirqab Group for its keen interest in making investment in Pakistan.

The premier said that the present government was committed to addressing the issue of power shortage in the country and would encourage the local and foreign investment in energy. "We will eliminate darkness from this country soon," he said. Prime Minister Nawaz said that after coming into power he utilised most of his time to get the country out of energy crisis through consultation with experts, which showed the government's priorities.

He said the current project was the result of government's untiring efforts, which was planned during the last 11 months and today it was being implemented. The present government conceived this project, removed all the hurdles and started it in a short period of time. The prime minister said he had no doubt in his mind from the very first day of his government that realising the dream of socio-economic development was impossible without addressing the issue of energy.

The severity of this crisis required day and night work on power projects, so that we could replace the darkness with lights, he remarked.

He said the ground-breaking of this power project at Port Qasim had a special significance due to the importance of Karachi in Pakistan's economy. Since the production of electricity from the coal-fired power plants is cheaper, 10 coal-fired power projects with a capacity of 660MW each were being initiated at Gadani in Balochistan, which would add a total of 6,600MW electricity in the national grid. He said that 3,500MW electricity would be generated from Diamer Bhasha Dam in Gilgit-Baltistan and 950MW of electricity would be available from the Neelum-Jhelum power project next year. He also referred to other power projects such as a 1,320MW project at Jamshoro as well as the planned power projects at Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal and Jhang.

The prime minister said that this journey continued at a rapid pace and they laid the foundation for power generation in the next five years, greater than the total power produced in the country's entire history. The 1,320MW project is also a part of this series. In the first phase, coal-fired 660MW power would be generated. He said that with the coal-fired power generation, the cost of electricity would be reduced enabling the general public to get electricity according to their purchasing power. "It is our desire that we should have not only ample power at our disposal but also a cost-effective one so that a large populace can get relief," he added.

Prime Minister Nawaz said that the projected time of completion was year 2017 and looking at the past performances of the companies, the premier said that the project would be completed ahead of the scheduled time. "These energy projects are result of our successful foreign policy which also shows the consistency perseverance in the Pak-China relationship. These are early harvest projects and will bear fruit in short time. Pak-China friendship will play a crucial role in stabilising the economy of Pakistan as well as bringing peace and prosperity in the region," he added.

About Qatar's cooperation in the energy sector, the prime minister said that it was also very crucial and hopefully, this project would further strengthen the relationship between the two countries. "People knew when we took responsibility of running the government, what the situation on ground was. The people are very well aware of the fact how we are working day and night to overcome the crises," the prime minister said.

He said that a common Pakistani could very well discern between the past and the present. It is a matter of satisfaction for him that the people were hoping for betterment and the rewards of good governance. He said that Nandipur Thermal Power Project which had been stalled for a long time was put back on track for completion which would add 425MW power in the system. The work on Neelum-Jhelum hydro-power project had been expedited and after completion in 2016, 969MW electricity would be available adding the expansion work on Tarbela iv and v projects would be accomplished in year 2017 with total production of 2,760MW power. He said that the project of Motorway was initiated by his government during the 1990s and had benefited the people of Pakistan a lot and those who were critical of the Motorway project at that time later appreciated it.

The prime minister thanked Power China and Al Mirqab Company for trusting government policies and investing in Pakistan. Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong, Sayar Abdul Rehman Al-Mawadah Qatar Ambassador in Pakistan, Fan Jixiang, Chairman Power China, Sheikh Jasim, CEO, also spoke on the occasion.


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