MULTAN-State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali disclosed on Monday that construction of two mega hydel power generation projects - Diamir Bhasha and Dasu dams - would begin by 2018.

Addressing a news conference here at Mepco Headquarters, he said that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced that the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam will start next year while work on Dasu Dam would begin with the financial cooperation of World Bank in 2018. He added that the 1,320 megawatt Sahiwal Coal Power Plant and 1,320 megawatt Port Qasim Coal Power Plant would be completed in just 28 months. Giving further details about power generation projects, he revealed that the Bakhi, Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah power plants were in final phase of their construction and they would generate 3,600 megawatt electricity. He said that 969 megawatt electricity from Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Power Project and 1,410 megawatt Tarbela Fourth Extension project would be added into national grid in next year. He said that work on projects for power generation from water, gas and coal is underway and the people would benefit from these projects as the cost of power production through these projects is low.

He said that power distribution system is being upgraded to end loadshedding permanently and investment worth billions has been made for the purpose. He disclosed that the electricity being generated under Roshan Pakistan Programme would be added into national grid on monthly basis and loadshedding would completely be eliminated till March 2018 as promised by the Prime Minister.

He said that all the development projects launched by the government were quite transparent and the opponents of these projects were in fact opponents of development. “The opponents do not have any evidence or logic. They’re just enemies of progress,” he maintained. He claimed that the demand for engineers went up due to development projects and unemployment decreased considerably.

He claimed that 1155 feeders of Mepco region had zero loadshedding while 56 high loss feeders still faced power outages. He disclosed that Rs10 billion was spent on restoration and up-gradation of system while another Rs. 10 billion would be spent on transmission and distribution systems during 2016-17. He pointed out that 20MVA power transformers were replaced with 40MVA to supply electricity with better voltage to the residents of South Punjab. He declared that all projects for up-gradation of grid stations and to remove faults from transmission lines would be completed by March 2017 which would help address tripping complaints in summers. He disclosed that Rs2.69 was spent for electrification of villages in Mepco region while Rs2.1 billion on low tension schemes. He said that the power pilferers were serious offenders and they would be dealt with iron hand.