ISLAMABAD - The federal minister for planning, development and reforms has showed discontent over the ministry of water and power for not making plan for switching the proposed Gwadar coal based power plant from coal to cleaner fuel and directed to finalise the conversion plan from coal to oil/LNG within one week.

Ahsan Iqbal also directed the ministry of water and power to install three 100MW LNG/oil based power plants at Gwadar instead of one 300MW coal power plant, an official source told The Nation. The minister issued these directives while chairing a fortnightly review meeting on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Pointing towards the officials of the ministry of water and power, Ahsan Iqbal said that “I had asked you three months ago to make a plan for switching over 300MW Gwadar power plant from Coal to Oil/LNG but you didn’t show any progress,” source said. 

According the source, the decision of switching over the power plant from coal to cleaner fuel was taken because the proposed power plant is of subcritical coal technology which will pollute the environment of the new developed port. The coal power plant of 600 MW is being developed with super critical technology which is relatively environmentally safe; however 300 MW power plants don’t come in super critical technology, the source added.

Meanwhile a press statement issued here stated that Ahsan Iqbal emphasized the need for master plan to develop Thar as model city and asked Sindh government and investors in Engro Power Plant take necessary steps. Investors in Thar should maximize Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to uplift lives of poor.

The minister said that the economic activity in Thar should not be geared to earn the profits only but should also focus on economic and social uplift of the area. “We should not repeat the mistake made in, Sui Baluchistan,” Ahsan Iqbal said. Meeting reviewed the progress on projects in energy, road infrastructure, railway and Gwadar under CPEC framework.  Minister directed to undertake the construction work on CPEC projects on fast track basis to ensure their completion in stipulated time frame. Minister emphasized that smarter and scientific approach should be adopted while carrying out the work on CPEC projects and urged for mobilizing the required financial resources promptly for smooth execution of work on these projects.

While reviewing the energy project in CPEC, Ahsan Iqbal directed to finalize the plan to switch Gwadar power plant from coal to LNG/oil on urgent basis to meet the urgent energy needs of the port city.

He said that speedy work on energy projects is necessary to tackle the energy crisis and power needs of industrial zones in future under CPEC. He said that with the completion of the energy projects in early harvest projects, 10,000 MGW would be added in national grid by 2018. The minister asked ministry of water & power to present an integrated plan for generation, transmission and distribution for next three years within one week to ensure that new power will be distributed to consumers in a planned manner. He also directed that young Pakistan engineers should be inducted in power plants to learn from Chinese counterparts’ erection and fabrication of power plants.

Ahsan Iqbal also underlined the need to use CPEC projects for making country a manufacturing economy rather a trading one for sustained economic growth. Federal minister, while reviewing Gwadar projects, directed the concerned authorities to consider urban planning requirements while devising master plan for Gwadar and also called for enforcing the land zoning laws to rationalize the prices of land in the city.

Meeting also reviewed KKH-II (Thakot-Havalaian section) and Multan-Sukhur Section of Karachi-Peshawar Motorway, Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line, ML-1 Railway Track, LNG Pipeline Project etc. and expressed satisfaction over progress on CPEC projects.