The ongoing political tussle between the government and opposition parties has not only brought economic activities to a screeching halt, it is also taking its toll on a much-hyped energy project.
In response to the bids invited for investment in coal-fired power plants at the Gadani Power Park, the government has failed to entice potential investors apparently because of the prevailing standoff over long marches and sit-ins in front of parliament.
This was discussed in a meeting of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) here on Wednesday, which was chaired by Federal Water and Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif.
For setting up power plants based on coal at the 6,600-megawatt Gadani Power Park, the government had sought expressions of interest through advertisements in domestic and international newspapers.
However, because of the prevailing situation in the country, the expected response could not be achieved and many prominent investors sought an extension in the date for submission of offers.
The board approved the request and extended the deadline to September 29 in an attempt to spark healthy competition.
The minister stressed that the government was taking all possible steps to bridge the gap between demand and supply of electricity in an effort to accelerate the pace of socio-economic growth and provide relief to the people.
“We are optimising the available resource base for upcoming power generation projects while at the same time making existing power generation and distribution facilities efficient and controlling line losses,” he said.
Ongoing power projects in the private sector came up for discussion in the PPIB meeting in the context of overall electricity supply situation in the country.
“While remaining within legal bounds, we should provide maximum facilitation for the projects so that maximum electricity could be generated,” the minister remarked.
Hydropower projects were also part of the discussions in the meeting. The participants decided to extend the Letter of Support for 870MW Sukki Kinari hydropower project on Kunhar river, Mansehra district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
This is part of the priority list of Early Harvest Projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The relaxation in the letter of support will allow the project developers to take necessary measures to undertake and complete work at a swift pace.
PPIB also desired to remove all bottlenecks for early development of 132MW Rajdhani hydropower project in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in cooperation with the state government.
PPIB acts as an agent for the AJK Council for the development, facilitation and implementation of power projects in the state.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2014.
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