LAHORE - Provincial Cabinet yesterday unanimously approved construction of the 1180 megawatt gas power plant to be set up in Bhikki, Sheikhupura.

Cabinet members paid tribute to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who also presided over the meeting, for taking deep interest in overcoming deficiency of electricity in the country and also for seeking speedy construction of the gas power plant maintaining transparency and standard.

The chief minister said that federal government is setting up two gas power plants of 1200 mw each in Haveli Bahadar Shah Jhang and Baloki in Punjab whereas provincial government is establishing the said gas power plant.

He said that the project will prove to be trendsetter in removing shortage of electricity from the country. He said that Bhikki power plant is the first and biggest single gas based project in the country for which the Punjab government has taken a lead.

Shahbaz Sharif said that production of 363 megawatt electricity will start from single cycle turbine from March 2017 whereas with the operation of second single turbine in April 2017, another 363mw electricity will be produced.

Similarly, he said, a total of 1180mw electricity will be available through combined stream gas turbine in December 2017. The Chief Minister said that gas turbines based on latest technology will be used for the project with a result the capacity of the project will be 61.59 percent whereas the capacity of turbines of gas-based project in the past was 54 percent.

He said that compared to similar gas-based project set up in Pakistan, engineering, procurement and construction cost of the project at Bhikki Sheikhupura is only $539 million which is very low. He said Punjab government has minimised the cost to $4.6 lakh per megawatt which is very low compared to similar projects.

He said that the way all issues relating to the project from tendering to awarding of contract have been dealt with transparently is unprecedented in the history of the country.

The chief minister further said that all matters relating to Bhikki Sheikhupura gas power project have been disposed of speedily and transparently and a sum of 120 billion rupees has practically been saved in all three projects to be set up in Punjab.

He said that saving of billions of rupees in the projects of gas power plants is a big success of PML-N government while Nepra is also decreasing tariff due to reduction in the EPC cost. He said that all issues have been settled with Federal Ministry of Petroleum with regard to uninterrupted supply of gas for the powerhouses in Sheikhupura.

He said that due to setting up of gas, coal, and solar based power projects, the monopoly of oil mafia for the last sixty years will also be eliminated. He said that the matters relating to cooperation and maintenance of the project have also been settled and it is the biggest project of its kind by any provincial government for which all issues have been settled with the concerned institutions.

The chief minister further said that work on the project was started in March 2015 and within a short period of six months, the issues relating to giving the practical shape to the project were dealt with speedily and transparently.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during a Cabinet meeting also constituted a committee to review Punjab Epidemic Diseases Control Amendment Bill 2014 and directed the committee to submit final recommendations within next few days.

He said that there is a need of vigorous awareness campaign for eradication of dengue. He said that Punjab government has made awareness campaign against dengue a part of syllabus, however, concerned institutions will have to play an active role for coping with this menace.

Chief Executive Officer Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Project Ahad Cheema gave a detailed briefing to the cabinet on Bhikki project. Provincial Ministers, Advisors, Special Assistants, Chief Secretary, concerned secretaries and senior officials attended the meeting.