Small coal power plants will be set up in Punjab: CM

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Punjab government has decided to set up small coal power plants for generating energy. He said that these power plants will be set up near industrial load centres and the process of identifying sites has been completed for establishing small coal power plants in the province. 
He was presiding over a high level meeting here today which discussed in detail various proposals with regard to setting up of small coal power plants in the province. Addressing the meeting, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that the elimination of energy crisis is vital for keeping the wheel of industries moving on, overcoming problems of unemployment and poverty. He said that ridding the people of loadshedding and bringing the country out of darkness is our mission. 
The chief minister said that government is implementing energy projects without wasting time and all possible steps are being taken for controlling energy crisis at the earliest. He disclosed that planning has been made for setting up small coal power plants near load centres in seven big cities of Punjab including Lahore. Shahbaz Sharif said that besides Lahore, small power plants of 55x2 megawatt running through coal will be set up in Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat and Multan. He said that the process of identifying sites for establishing four small coal power plants of 55x2 megawatt in Lahore has been completed. 
The chief minister said that small coal power plants are being set up in Sundar Industrial Estate Lahore and M-3 Industrial Estate Faisalabad. He said that due to this step of Punjab government, 1100 megawatt electricity will be generated in next 20 months. He directed that all concerned institutions should carry out work for speedy implementation of small coal power plants and ensure best coordination so that these projects could be furthered without any delay. Shahbaz Sharif directed that coal yards will have to be constructed for storing the coal for these projects in Punjab and concerned officials should take immediate steps in this regard. Additional Chief Secretary Energy Jehanzeb Khan gave a detailed briefing with regard to small coal power plants. Chief Secretary, Senior Member Board of Revenue, Chairman Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park and concerned officials attended the meeting. 
A delegation of Chinese investors associated with energy sector met Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday. Matters regarding setting up of power projects running through coal and developing mining area were discussed in the meeting. Chinese investors evinced keen interest in developing mining area and setting up of coal power plants in salt range. 
Talking to the delegation, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that government is implementing all practicable projects expeditiously for resolving energy crisis. He said that a mega project is being implemented in Punjab for generating energy through coal. The Chief Minister said that special incentives and facilities are being provided to the local and foreign investors for investment in energy sector. He urged upon Chinese investors to come forward for developing coal mining with modern technology as well as setting up of coal power plants in mining area and government will provide all possible facilities to them in this regard. Shahbaz Sharif said that vast reserves of coal exist in salt range in Punjab and Punjab government is endeavouring for utilizing these reserves in a better manner. That is why, Punjab government wants to develop mining area on modern lines and Chinese investors should come forward to develop mining zone so that the coal could be supplied to the power plants uninterruptedly.
Speaking on the occasion, head of Chinese delegation Li Jingkai said that we want to invest in coal power plants in Punjab whereas we are also willing to develop coal mining area jointly with Punjab government. He said that we are planning to set up two power plants of 150 megawatt in coal mining area in Punjab and also ready to cooperate with Punjab government for developing coal mining zone. Provincial Minister for Minerals Ch. Sher Ali Khan, Chairman Planning & Development, Additional Chief Secretary Energy, Secretary Minerals & Mines and concerned officials were present on the occasion.

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