MUZAFFARGARH: Thousands of megawatts of electric power will be added to the national grid in 2017, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Monday.
He was addressing a ceremony in Muzaffargarh to inaugurate the restoration of a thermal power plant with the cooperation of the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID).
“The plant was set up in the early ’90s. Its installed capacity of 1,300MW had declined to 650MW with the passage of time. We have achieved the target of raising the electricity production by 500MW at the cost of Rs1.5 billion,” he said.
He said that the Punjab government was thankful to the American government, the USAID as well as the American ambassador and consul general who had taken personal interest in the project.
“Pakistan and America have had formal ties since 68 years. Today, these ties based on mutual respect are stronger than ever before. The US government is extending full cooperation to Pakistan government for several projects involving generation of electricity from water. This cooperation is commendable,” he said. He said that the Punjab government had completed a 100MW project at Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur with its own resources. “The 100MW solar project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Bahawalpur is in its final stages of completion,” he said.
He said that energy crisis and terrorism were the biggest challenges facing the country. “Sincere efforts are being made to resolve them by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government. Political and military leadership and law enforcement institutions are also moving forward in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
The chief minister said that those staging sit-in protests had caused unnecessary delay in the completion of energy projects. “If such hurdles had not been created, a number of these projects would have been in the final stages of completion by now,” he said.
The chief minister said that in the first phase of local government elections, the people had authenticated the results of the 2013 general elections. “By rejecting the politics of false allegations, the masses have expressed full confidence in the politics of hard work and honesty,” he said.
The chief minister said that the people had given the message that the government should complete the energy projects expeditiously. “We will come up to the expectations of the people and spare no efforts for the early completion of power projects,” he said.
USAID Mission Director John Groarke, American Consul General Zachary Harkenrider and Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Plant CEO Rukhsar Ahmed Qureshi, too, addressed the ceremony.
The chief minister also inspected the Multan Metro Bus Project site from the air. He said that the project would be a masterpiece of transparency in execution and would be completed speedily.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2015.