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KBD politicised, can't start sans consensus: Shahbaz

12 February, 2014

LAHORE: The Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, has said every possible effort will be made to resolve the electricity crisis.

In his speech in the Punjab Assembly, he also referred to the Kalabagh Dam (KBD), and said unfortunately it had been politicised but added that unity and solidarity of the country was of prime importance and it would be against the national interest to start the project unless there was a consensus among all the four provinces.

He said sincere efforts were being made under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resolve the energy problem and other issues. He said that fulfilling the responsibility given by the federal government to curb the pilferage of electricity and gas, effective measures had been taken by the provincial government and as a result of which, electricity of billions of rupees had been conserved.

He said the Punjab government was working on power generation projects expeditiously and due to the efforts of the government, electricity would be available to every house of the province. He said the provincial government was setting up two power plants of 660 megawatts from coal with its own resources.

The chief minister, whose speech mostly revolved around the electricity crisis in the country, told the PA that six sites had been identified for setting up coal-based power projects. Shahbaz said Pakistan was facing serious challenges like terrorism, extremism and shortages of electricity. He said that no attention had been paid by the rulers during the last 10-15 years towards the electricity generation projects.

The CM said that due to corruption, dishonesty and criminal negligence of the former rulers, the country had plunged into darkness while the national economy was unstable. He said that theft of electricity and gas was not only a crime but also a great disservice to the people who paid their bills. He said the Punjab government would continue its campaign against electricity and gas theft. He also said that due to negligence, indifference, corruption and greed of the rulers, the country was facing darkness.

Referring to the efforts being made by the federal government, the chief minister said that the prime minister had announced setting up coal-based power plants in Gaddani of Balochistan. He said the foundation stone of the Thar Coal project in Sindh had been laid and for the first time, it was decided in the meeting of the Council of Common Interests to give sovereign guarantee to the Sindh government for coal mining. He said that the decision would help the Sindh government in coal mining and generation of power.

Shahbaz Sharif said that China, Qatar and Pakistan were working on a project of setting up two coal-fired power plants of 600 megawatts at the Port Qasim. He said that LNG imported from Qatar would also be available to the industry from November.

He said the project of LNG gas also faced a delay of four years like other projects due to corruption of the former rulers. He said the Nandipur power project was another example of corruption, dishonesty and plundering by the former rulers. He said the project had been delayed due to lust for money of the former rulers due to which the poor nation had to spend an additional amount of Rs27 billion on the project.

He said that not only the plant of Nandipur power project kept rusting in Karachi but a penalty of one billion rupees was also paid. He said that due to the efforts of the present government, the Nandipur power plant had been shifted to the site and hundreds of Pakistani and Chinese engineers were working on the project round the clock and it would start producing 150 megawatt electricity from May this year.

He said that work was also being carried out speedily on the Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur and the contract for generation of 100 megawatt solar energy would be awarded next month in a transparent manner.

He said the Punjab was the biggest province of Pakistan and a hub of industrial and trade activities, therefore, a big project of generation of 6,000 megawatt electricity from coal had been announced by the Punjab government.

Meanwhile, on his arrival in the PA after a gap of six months, opposition leader Mian Mehmoodul Rasheed announced distribution of sweets among the legislators. On these remarks from the opposition leader, the CM said he couldn't attend the PA proceedings due to health issues and would have been quite happy if the opposition leader had sent him a letter inquiring about his health. The CM Punjab also said that he would eat sweet once Punjab started the power generation projects.

Later, the opposition leader, Mian Mehmoodul Rasheed, in his speech on the floor urged the leader of the House to remain focused on the issues of Punjab rather than spending time on federal subjects. He said that it was obvious that issues of the Centre were the prime focus of the CM's interest, adding that despite the commitment of the chief minister to change the Thana culture, nothing had improved in Punjab.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, responding to issues raised by the opposition leader, said the Election Commission had the powers to hold the local bodies polls.


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