LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that coal-based power generation projects is short-term planning and can help in controlling power crisis to a large extent within a short period of time.

Addressing a high-level meeting here on Sunday, the Chief Minister said that cost of production of electricity from coal was about 50 per cent less than that of thermal energy. Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for Ports and Shipping Kamran Miachel, former federal minister Shaukat Tareen, Provincial Minister for Minerals Sher Ali Khan, Federal Secretary Ports and Shipping, General Manager Operation Railways, Chief Secretary Punjab, Acting Chairman Karachi Port Trust, Chairman Port Qasim Authority, Chairman Planning & Development, Additional Chief Secretary Energy and senior officials of Railways and NESPAK were also present on the occasion.

The meeting reviewed in detail the matters regarding a comprehensive system for transportation of imported coal for coal power project. The chief minister constituted a sub-committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary Energy and directed to submit its recommendations within 14 days regarding the supply of coal, its off-loading at seaports and supply system of Railways. The committee would comprise senior officers of Railways, Port Qasim, NTDC, Karachi Port Trust, NESPAK, PESPAK and Punjab government.

Shahbaz said that there was a dire need for evolving a complete system for supply of imported coal from the seaports to the sites of the proposed power plants. The chief minister said that all out measures were being taken for ridding the country of the energy crisis and the work was being carried out on power generation projects round the clock under the leadership of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

He said that the efforts of the government will succeed and darkness would be removed from the country. He said that every movement is precious and the concerned departments will have to move forward in a planned manner for controlling shortage of electricity.

He said that there should be a close coordination between the concerned departments regarding transportation of imported coal. He said that there is a need for evolving a comprehensive mechanism for the supply of imported coal from seaports to the power generation plants through railway track.

The chief minister directed that a comprehensive strategy be evolved for coal power plant projects keeping in view the future needs. He said that Chinese technology should be utilised for the off loading of coal from ships at the ports. Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq said that the model of development evolved by Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif would be followed for proceeding in this matter and Railways will play a key role in the supply of imported coal to the proposed sites from the seaports.

Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Kamran Michael said the way government was moving forward speedily for resolving energy crisis has given the hope that Pakistan would soon counter its shortage of electricity. He said that the target given by Punjab government for supply of coal would be achieved within the time frame.

Acting Chairman Karachi Port Trust and Chairman Port Qasim Authority gave briefing on the capacity of their respective institutions while General Manager Railways informed about the supply of imported coal through Railways.