ISLAMABAD  - Punjab Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Punjab government has planned to complete its six power plants by 2018 that would generate 7820 megawatts of electricity, which would fill the gap between demand and supply. 

He said this while chairing a meeting along with Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar to review logistics requirements for imported coal transportation to proposed power plants in Punjab at Prime Minister’s House. Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique informed that the Pakistan Railways has made initial study for route map in order to transport imported coal to six coal-fired power plants to be set up in Punjab. He informed that necessary work for double line up to Lahore is already in progress.

He said that procurement of high traction locomotives and high capacity wagons would be required to meet the expected demand of transporting 36 million tons of coal per annum by year 2018 when all the coal fired power plants would be operational. The Ministry of Port and Shipping informed that capacity development at Port Qasim and Karachi Port Trust will have to be undertaken for loading/unloading arrangements at terminals. The meeting was informed that the private sector can be involved to enhance the capacity at the two ports. Secretary Water and Power informed that the sites of the proposed power plants in Punjab already have the necessary infrastructure of transmission lines and capacity to meet the requirements. However, he said that wherever required additional transmission lines will be set up on joint venture basis.

The finance minister in his remarks said that instead of separate feasibility reports by each of the three ministries, it would be appropriate that an integrated feasibility plan in collaboration with IPDF (Infrastructure Project Development Facility) of the Finance Division, should be prepared in order to ensure that minimum extra logistic arrangements are required. He said that wherever it is possible, public private partnership or joint ventures with the private sector should be explored. He underlined that the sites should be selected keeping in view the availability of dual railway track, transmission lines and related infrastructure.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the environmental impact assessment should be made at the earliest. He informed the meeting that globally it is considered that 660MW power plants are more efficient. He also informed that the Punjab government plans to complete two power plants by 2017 and remaining four by year 2018. He said that two pair each at six sites would produce 7820MW of electricity which will fill the gap between demand and supply even in summer.  He said, “For the industrial development of the country, we need to shift to cheaper fuel and more efficient power plants.” Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Port and Shipping Kamran Michael, Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, Federal Secretary Water and Power, Saifullah Chatta and senior officials of the federal and provincial governments also attended the meeting.