PESHAWAR -  Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi on Sunday urged the people to make a right decision in coming July in an inference to the month when the general election will be held. “If you make a right choice, the journey of progress and development will continue,” he said.

“Today, the issues of electricity and gas crises have been resolved due to accurate policies of former premier Nawaz Sharif. The economy has been put on the right track,” the prime minister said after inaugurating the first unit of Golen Gol hydropower project in Chitral.

The premier said that the country had been put on the right track and the journey of development would go on if the democratic system continued. “Now, you have again to decide in July elections. The development process would continue if you make a right decision. You have the power to make these decisions. This is about democracy. This is about representation. This is the course of country’s development,” the prime minister said.

The total generation capacity of the project is 108 megawatts (MW) with three generating units – each one having a capacity of 36 MW. The first unit has been completed, while the second and the third unit would be commissioned in March and May respectively. The quantum of electricity is three times more than the present requirement of Chitral, and will also contribute to a surge in electricity generation in the future.

The Golen Gol project would contribute 436 million units of electricity to the national grid every year. Benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs3.7 billion per annum.

The approved PC-I cost of the project amounts to Rs 29 billion. In addition to WAPDA’s own sources, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Saudi Fund for Development, Kuwait Development Fund and OPEC Fund for International Development had also been providing financial assistance for completion of the project.

The premier said that “such projects were possible because you made the right choice of electing Nawaz Sharif. Now it is in the hands of you people to again make the right choice and allow the progress to continue,” he said.

The prime minister assured the people that the project would first meet the needs of the whole Chitral and only the surplus electricity would be supplied to other areas. “No doubt, Chitral would now become loadshedding free as the project would meet Chitral’s needs even during the drought season.”

Wearing traditional Chitrali Pakol (cap), he said that the PML-N had carried out record development works in Chitral such as the construction of Lowari Tunnel, Golen Gol power project and inclusion of the area in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said that it was the PML-N government that spent Rs28 billion to complete the Lowari Tunnel project that had been lingering for the last 42 years after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched it in 1973. “This is the difference between the government which delivers and the ones merely making tall claims, unveiling fake plaques or making false commitments,” he said.

The premier said that after the construction of the road from Gilgit to Chitral under the CPEC, the travel time from Chitral to Islamabad would reduce to half from 12 hours to six hours.

PM Abbassi said that Chitral remained deprived of government funds in the past but the incumbent government proved its words by making up the deficiencies. “The people’s decision to elect Nawaz Sharif as prime minister proved beneficial for you,” he said. Seeking public support for completion of the power project, the prime minister also assured the local MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin maximum funds for overhauling the power transmission system in the area.

He also thanked the Wapda chairman, Chinese workers and Saudi Fund for the successful completion of the project in an area which is not easily accessible.

The prime minister said that Chitral had immense potential to generate around 12,000 MW but it would take time to exploit it.

GOVT PRIORITISES POWER PROJECTS FOR CHITRAL

Prime Minister Abbasi Sunday said the government was working on power projects on priority so that people of Chitral could be provided with affordable source of energy, thereby reducing the burden on forest resources.

He was chairing a briefing on development projects, PM office media wing said in a press release.

Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Javed Ali Shah, Wapda Chairman Lt-Gen (r) Muzammil Hussain, senior officers of district administration and notables of the area were also present during the briefing.

He said completion of power projects would also encourage commerce, industry and tourism in Chitral that would provide greater employment opportunities for the local population.

The prime minister said the PML-N government had allocated unprecedented amount of resources for the development of the people of Chitral. He said the mega projects including Lowari Tunnel, several hydropower and road infrastructure projects were completed during PML-N's tenure.

He said the people of Chitral had rendered great services for the country and therefore the government would provide all possible support for socio-economic uplift of the local people.

Local notables thanked the prime minister for his visit and assured full support to the government in timely completion of development projects.