Published On: Thu, Apr 11th, 2019
Published in Category: District News / Energy and Power

Entire country to benefit from Thar coal power plant: Bilawal

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THARPARKAR: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday termed the Thar coal power plant a “pride for all of Pakistan” and said the entire country would benefit from the electricity generated by the plant.

Addressing a ceremony after inaugurating the 660 megawatts coal power project in Thar, Bilawal Bhutto said it was the country’s “most successful project” and that his mother, the late Benazir Bhutto, had dreamed of providing electricity to Pakistan with Thar’s coal.

“This is Pakistan’s most successful project. This is naya Thar. This is naya Pakistan,” the PPP leader said. “This is what is called ‘good governance’. This is what you call a ‘mega project’,” he continued, adding, “Others only talked. PPP actually delivered.”

Bilawal Bhutto said he was proud to have inaugurated a project that his mother had laid foundation for. He told the audience that it was the late prime minister who had first introduced the concept of public-private partnership in her 1993 manifesto.

He announced that the Sindh government will provide free electricity to the residents of Islamkot and Thar once the project starts generating electricity.

“Local people deserved to get electricity from the coal power project at the highest priority,” he said, while calling it unjust to the people of Thar that they were being deprived of electricity.

Furthermore, he urged for public-private partnership in every project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He vowed to improve the condition of schools and hospitals in the region. The PPP chairman also disclosed that a 250-bed hospital was being constructed and would be inaugurated soon.

“The region of Thar is producing black gold. This is called good governance. This is called mega project. This is naya Thar and naya Pakistan,” he went on to say.

“I visited the housing society that has been created to rehabilitate the people who were affected by the coal power project. I have to say, there have been many projects created all over the country but I have not seen the people affected by those projects rehabilitated in such a manner.”

“Today, the PPP has displayed its belief in delivering for the masses. This project and its success is a milestone for all of Pakistan. The PPP and Sindh government has set an example for all other political parties of this country, who remain limited to tall claims with no actual achievements,” said Bilawal. “This project is also a validation of the 18th Amendment and shows what provinces can achieve when they have rights over their own resources.”

Bilawal said the project was also a testament to the success of the public-private partnership model that the PPP has aggressively pursued over recent years.

Bilawal Bhutto zardari said that these days demand is raised that university should be established in Thar. Bilawal Bhutto said that the campus of NED University will be opened in Thar as soon as possible.

“Once the NED campus is established in Thar, we will also set up a multi-disciplinary university on the public-private partnership model.”

Bilawal Bhutto thanked the Chinese people for supporting and for standing with Pakistan. He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is delivering and Pakistan People’s Party is delivering, adding that if this model will be used in whole Pakistan then CPEC will successful.

Bilawal Bhutto said that we will have completed the dream of late shaheed Benazir Bhutto.

He said that the Sindh government is the only government which is doing something and PPP’s government is the only government which is doing something.

He said that the Parvez Musharraf government did not add even single megawatt electricity in the national grid.

Bilawal Bhutto said that if there is a selected government or government of dictatorship then your roots did not present in the masses, progress and prosperity of masses is not the priority of these governments.

He said that the previous PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa had announced to establish 200 dams but during the last five years PTI government in KP did not produce single megawatt electricity.

In his address earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said the coal power project was an achievement at par with Pakistan’s nuclear tests.

He said the project was a manifestation of the provincial government and PPP’s will to provide a better future for Pakistan’s coming generations. “We faced a lot of criticism and received constant negative feedback at the planning stage. Those people were focusing on the difficulties that could be faced in the project’s execution. We were aware of the challenges too but knew they could be overcome,” said Shah.

“We did not take a U-turn on the matter and the result has been beneficial for the whole of Pakistan.”

Test run operations were started at the 660-megawatt (MW) Engro Powergen Thar Private Ltd (EPTL) towards the end of March.

The power station’s two 330-megawatt (MW) units will burn domestic lignite, a cheap but polluting energy source, from the Tharparkar district, around 390 kilometres east of Karachi.

EPTL is part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that involves building new infrastructure to help turn Pakistan into a major overland route linking China to the wider region.

The federal government was represented by Federal Power Minister Umer Ayub Khan.

The project manager, Faisal Shafiq, said that one of the power generation units had already been synchronised with the national grid while the synchronisation of the second unit will start from today.

He said commercial operation of the power plant would start by June this year. Shafiq said Shafiq said the project took 10 years to complete – since the time the Thar coal project was conceived after the Sindh government entered into a partnership with Engro under the public-private partnership regime.

It was an arduous and nerve-testing job for all the stakeholders of the project, he said, adding that all environmental concerns regarding the first major coal-based power project of the country had been well allayed as the energy project had been built in accordance with the standards set by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation.

Meanwhile Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former planning minister Chaudhry Ahsan Iqbal congratulated Bilawal for inaugurating the project and said, “Thar Coal project demonstrates the power of collaboration. PML-N federal govt, PPP Sindh govt & Engro – private sector worked as a team to make this CPEC dream come true.”

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