LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that Pakistan is facing serious challenges like terrorism, extremism and shortage of electricity; however, sincere efforts are being made to resolve all such issues.
Addressing the Punjab Assembly, he said that fulfilling the responsibility given by the federal government to curb pilferage of electricity and gas, effective measures have been taken by the provincial government for the purpose as a result of which electricity of billions of rupees has been conserved.
He said that he and his government will not rest until theft of electricity and gas is completely eliminated from the province. He said the Punjab government is working on power generation projects expeditiously and due to round-the-clock efforts of the government, electricity will be available in every house of the province.
The chief minister said that due to corruption, dishonesty and criminal negligence of former rulers, the country has been plunged in darkness while national economy is facing instability. He said that theft of electricity and gas is not only a crime but also a great disservice to those people who pay their electricity bills.
He said the Punjab government will continue its campaign against electricity and gas theft. Referring to the efforts being made by the federal government, the chief minister said that the prime minister has announced setting up coal-based power plants in Gaddani area of Balochistan and work has been started on this project.
He said that foundation stone of Thar coal project in Sindh has been laid and for the first time, it has been decided in the meeting of the Council of Common Interests to give sovereign guarantee to Sindh government for coal mining. He said that this decision will help the Sindh government in coal mining and generation of power.
Shahbaz Sharif said that China, Qatar and Pakistan are working on the project of setting up two coal-fired power plants of 600 megawatt at Port Qasim. He said that LNG imported from Qatar will also be available to the industry from November this year. He said that the project of LNG gas also faced delay of four years like other projects due to corruption by former rulers.
He said that Nandipur Power Project has been delayed due to lust of money of former rulers due to which the poor nation has to spend an additional amount of Rs 27 billion on the project. He said that not only the plant of Nandipur Power Project kept rusting in Karachi but a penalty of Rs 1 billion was also paid. He said that due to the efforts of the present government, Nandipur Power Project has been shifted to the site and hundreds of Pakistani and Chinese engineers are working on this project round the clock and it will start producing 150MW electricity from May this year. He said that work is also being carried out speedily on Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur and the contract for generation of 100MW solar energy will be awarded next month in a transparent manner.
He said that it will be the first time in the national history that solar energy will be produced in the country. He said that it was not a difficult task but required a spirit of honesty, dedication and hard work. He said that it is not enough as thousands of megawatts of energy is needed for the country.
He said that Punjab is the biggest province of Pakistan and a hub of industrial and trade activities; therefore a big project of generation of 6,000MW electricity from coal has been announced by the Punjab government.
The chief minister said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is also working on Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha dams. He said that a sum of $12 billion and a period of 12 years are required for execution of these projects while the coal-based power projects can be completed within two to three years.
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