Nawaz blames past govt for energy crisis

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Bhikki power plant first phase inaugurated

Lauds Shahbaz’s keen interest in uplift projects

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while reiterating to overcome energy crisis, hit back at critics, saying: “those who are responsible for load-shedding [in the country] are now threatening to hold protests.”
He was speaking at a ceremony to mark the inauguration of the 1,180 megawatt (MW) Bhikki Power Plant in Sheikhupura. The Bhikki power plant is the first ever LNG-based power plant in the country. It will, for now, contribute 717MW to the national grid. It was completed over a period of 18 months.
The premier said, “We have completed a massive project in 18 months. It is unbelievable that we have done this. Other projects in this country have been under construction for 30 years. If we had not personally supervised this project, it would have taken 15 years as opposed to 18 months.
Dismissing the opposition party, the prime minister said: “If you had worked with honesty, this country would have been successful today.” “We are trying to fix your mistakes,” he added. “When we came to power in 2013, we picked up work on these development projects.”
Nawaz spoke extensively on the development projects undertaken during his tenure, repeatedly criticising other parties for not doing enough within their own constituencies. “Why weren’t the motorways ever expanded? Why is it that the federal government had to take the initiative of starting new infrastructure projects in Karachi?” he said.
The PM said, “The provincial government should fix the law and order situation in Karachi and create a scheme for drinking water public transportation in Sindh. We are happy to do this but shouldn’t the Sindh government have taken the initiative on its own. We have broken the back of terrorist organisations. Was this only our prerogative? Why didn’t past governments do anything when they were in power?” he said.
Nawaz said, “We are not looking at 2018 — we are looking ahead for the next 10, 20 years. The country will continue to prosper. The children of the poor will get education — this is our dream. I pray these dreams come true,” the prime minister said.
“Stop with your lies,” the prime minister said in a last swipe at his opponents. “Stop this blame game, otherwise you will continue to lose and only the PML-N will remain in the field,” he said.
The power plant’s inauguration came after the prime minister ordered action against officials who failed to plan in advance for the summer season a day earlier, as the electricity shortfall crossed a record 7,000MW.
Nawaz said completion of Bhikki power project in record period of eighteen months is beginning of new era in national history.
He said Balloki Power Project will be completed at a total cost of eighty-four billion rupees with saving of fifty-two billion rupees. He said Haveli Bahadur Shah project will be completed at a cost of ninety billion rupees with a saving of forty-nine billion rupees.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the LNG-fueled Bhikki Power Plant at Sheikhupura.
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Governor Punjab Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif were present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister was earlier briefed about the salient features of the project. He was taken around the control room of the plant and was informed about its highly efficient environment-friendly operations.
The plant would save Rs 250 billion in operational cost alone in next 30 years. The highest output gas plant was built at the lowest cost ever leading to the lowest production cost in the world of $466,000 per megawatt (MW).
The Bhikki power plant, a key project of the Punjab government, upon completion would provide a total of 1180 MW. The project runs on General Electric 209HA Combined Cycle Technology, being executed by Harbin Electric International as EPC Contractor.
The project, near Sheikhupura, has been completed jointly by AEPL, General Electric, Harbin Electric International and their construction contractor Tianjin Electric.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif termed the completion of the gas power plant in 18 months a record and said owing to the transparent bidding the government saved a huge amount of Rs 50 billion. He said the plant would provide power at the cheapest rate of Rs 7.37 per unit.
He was informed that the plant would also have record efficiency of 61.59 per cent as compared to other power generation plants in the country.