The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has approved a policy for rapid industrialisation aiming to utilise the province’s rich natural resources, according to a statement issued on Saturday.
Under the policy, industrialists would be offered cheap electricity near the numerous hydropower generation sites in the province, said the statement issued following a meeting chaired by K-P Chief Secretary Mohammad Shahzad Arbab at Civil Secretariat. It added the K-P government has allocated a sum of Rs373 million for power generation schemes in the province for fiscal year 2013-2014.
“Additionally, power generated by Pehur High Level-I hydropower plant which will be completed soon would provide electricity on cheap and concessional rates to Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate in Swabi,” reads the statement.
Dargai was identified as another spot from where electricity at cheap rates could be provided to investors from the Malakand-III hydropower generation plant.
The construction of Malakand-III hydropower project with a capacity of 81 megawatts (MW) began at Dargai almost eight years ago at a cost of $80 million. The power station generates 553 million kilowatt per hour (kWh) of electricity annually. The cost of generation is around 2.18 cents per kWh.
Currently, electricity generated from the plant is sold to the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) at a cheap rate. Wapda then resells it to the public at higher rates. It was decided in the meeting that the agreement with Wapda would be revised as well.
There are 13 hydropower stations in the province which are categorised as medium, small and mini, and are of a cumulative capacity of 86 MW. Meanwhile, various Wapda power stations including Tarbela and Warsak have a total installed capacity of 3,762 MW. Other hydropower stations being operated by the provincial government are Pehur in Swabi (18 MW), Reshun in Chitral (4.2 MW) and Shishi in Chitral (1.8 MW).
K-P has already established Pakhtunkhwa Hydel Development Organisation, an independent organisation to focus on hydropower generation. However, other modes of energy generation, mainly oil and gas, have recently been under exploration in the southern districts of K-P.
The discussed policy also states an independent and autonomous power distribution organisation be formed to enable the provincial government to evenly distribute any power generated from these alternative means between domestic and industrial consumers.
Therefore, the offer of cheap electricity will not only be limited to hydropower generating sites alone, but include gas-generated electricity as well because gas is in abundance in the southern districts of K-P, said the statement.
Various other policy decisions were also made during the meeting including inviting experts to help give a concrete shape to the industrialisation policy. It was also proposed the government should concentrate on creating economic zones in various parts of the province.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Central Executive Committee Member Jahangir Tarin and former secretary industries Suleman Ghani were among the participants.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.