Chief Minister announces mega coal-based power project for investment

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif while announcing a mega coal-based power project in Punjab has said that the aim of this project of national importance is to generate 6000 megawatt electricity from coal in Punjab during three to five years. He said that an investment of eight to ten billion dollars would be made directly in these coal power projects. The Chief Minister has also announced to set up two plants of 660 megawatt each under this project by Punjab government in order to complete this project at the earliest and get better results. He said that at present, Punjab government has selected six sites for launching coal-based power projects which are situated at Qadirabad district Sahiwal, Bhikhi district Sheikhupura, Haveli Bahadur Shah district Jhang, Balloki district Kasur, Taranda Sawaywala Rahim Yar Khan and Mouza Karam Dad Qureshi district Muzaffargarh. He said that government will take concrete and result-oriented steps for ensuring participation of private sector in generating electricity and encouraging it for this purpose.
He was addressing a crowded press conference regarding Punjab government initiatives for coal-based power plants here today. Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah Khan, Chaudhary Muhammad Shafique, Malik Nadeem Kamran, Sher Ali Khan, Chief Secretary, Senior Member Board of Revenue, Additional Chief Secretary Energy, concerned secretaries and senior officials were present on the occasion.
Addressing the press conference, Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is facing two big problems like electricity crisis and extremism. He said that provision of electricity and gas is of vital importance for strong economy. He said that when economy will flourish, the trends of extremism will reduce. He said that agriculture and industry will progress and new job opportunities will be created. The Chief Minister said that Punjab government has made planning of initiating coal-based power plants in the province and has given practical shape to its steps for initiating coal-based power plants diligently. He said that coal will be transported from Karachi to Punjab by rail for these power plants. Shehbaz Sharif told that he visited coal power plants at various places in Indian East Punjab last month where Chinese companies are working on thousands megawatt plants. He said that more than 65 percent electricity is being generated from coal in China, 63 percent in India, 60 percent in Germany and 50 percent in America whereas less than one percent electricity is generated from coal in Pakistan while 65 percent from thermal and 35 percent from hydel. He said that ironically due to poor planning and strategy during last many decades, the low cost generation of electricity could not be made possible in Pakistan. The Chief Minister said that no proper work regarding generating electricity from hydel has been carried out and only paper work was done. He said that Punjab government has started work on solar project of 100 megawatt in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park and bids of this project will be received by mid of February. However, coal is the best option for generating electricity round the clock, he added. He said that unfortunately Pakistan is spending ten billion dollars on the import of oil for producing electricity for which country’s economy cannot afford. He said that the cost of electricity generated through imported oil has been fixed Rs. 19 per unit while the cost of electricity generated through imported coal Rs. 9 per unit. He said that vast reserves of coal exist in Thar whereas 500 million ton coal exists in Punjab. He said that Australian company has prepared a feasibility report about it, however, the coal of Punjab is not of good quality. Shehbaz Sharif said that at present these plants would be run through imported coal on short term basis, which will be later run by local coal. He said that the sites selected by Punjab government for generating electricity from coal are very important for the reason as the big centers using electricity are near to these places and the electricity to be produced by these plants can easily be added to national grid immediately. He said that these places are near to railway track and road and water is also available near these places. He said that the aim of this coal-based power project is to encourage and provide guidance to private sector and include it in government efforts being made for overcoming energy crisis. He said that the sites selected for launching coal-based power plants will be handed over to private sector through open, competitive and transparent process. He said that advertisements would be given in national and international media for this purpose. The Chief Minister said that the purpose of initial work of selecting these sites by government is to overcome present energy crisis within the shortest time and launch power plants at the earliest. He said that if private sector should identify other suitable places in this regard, government will also consider it. He said that railway authorities have assured Punjab government to bring necessary changes and improve its system within stipulated period for ensuring supply of coal according to the requirements of proposed project. He said that the transportation of coal by railway will also support it and improve its efficiency. He said that due to modern coal power plants manufactured through new technology has controlled the problems of air pollution at a great extent. He said that Punjab government will also install such latest plants which are called Super Critical. He said that at present such plants are being installed in China, America, Germany and India. He said that these plants are environment-friendly and their fuel efficiency is also much better. Shehbaz Sharif said that Punjab government will ensure the following of international demands with regard to environment and the principles mentioned in the environmental laws of the country at federal and provincial level. He said that this coal-based power project in Punjab will prove an important milestone in overcoming energy crisis. He said that this project of national importance will be helpful for providing required electricity to industry, agriculture and common consumers. He said that cheap electricity will be available through this project and it will be possible to reduce the electricity tariff. The Chief Minister said that this project will also be helpful in restoration of railways due to transportation of lakhs of tons of coal. He said that this mega project is the project of real development and national prosperity as a result of which vast job opportunities will be available which will leave positive impacts in every sector of national economy. He said that advertisements are being given in local and international newspapers about this project whereas road shows will also be held. He said that the former rulers have only wasted time regarding increasing electricity production. However, PML-N government will cover up the wasted time by working round the clock on these energy projects and rid the motherland of energy crisis. He said that after completion of coal-based power projects, not only the problem of shortage of electricity will be resolved but there will be revolution of prosperity in Punjab and Pakistan. 
Later, replying to questions of media, Shehbaz Sharif said that the country is in state of war and there are attacks and bomb blasts in various cities. He said that the entire nation will have to be united on one platform for dealing with the menace of extremism. He lamented that polio workers are also being targeted. He said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is determined to rid the country of the scourge of extremism and making sincere efforts for national unity.