LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the most modern coal power project of 1320 MW in Sahiwal will be completed in a record period with the cooperation of China. He said that journey towards progress and prosperity has started and the day is not far off when an era of light will begin and Pakistan will achieve its goal.

Addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of coal power plants in Qadirabad, Sahiwal on Friday, the CM said that the PML-N achieved a thumping victory in the May 2013 General Elections due to support of the masses who expressed their complete confidence in the leadership of Nawaz Sharif.

He said that during the election campaign, Nawaz and he assured the masses that every effort would be made to rid Pakistan of darkness but when Nawaz became the Prime Minister for the third time after the general elections, he realised that energy sector was in a very bad condition.

However, he said, in order to stabilise the national economy and promote agriculture and industrial sectors, the PM accepted the challenge and evolved a comprehensive strategy for resolving energy crisis. He said that a roadmap was evolved and strenuous efforts were made due to which positive results are being witnessed.

Shahbaz said that work is being carried out round the clock on hydel, solar and coal based power projects. He said that though the cost of hydel power is very low but it takes six to seven years to be completed while solar energy is generated only when there is sunlight. Similarly, he said, the cost of electricity produced from fuel is very high. He said that with regard to medium term planning, generation of power from coal costs almost half compared to fuel while this project can be completed in a comparatively shorter period of time.

The CM said that Pakistan does not have oil or gas reserves like Middle East countries; however, it is fortunate to have a leader like Nawaz Sharif who has extraordinary power of decision-making and determination.

He said that the PM worked day and night for power generation projects and in a meeting with Joint Economic Commission of China was held on 19 February 2014 in Beijing in which it was agreed that power projects of 20,000 megawatts will be set up in Pakistan during the next seven years and this has been made possible due to invaluable cooperation of Pakistan’s greatest friend, China.

Shahbaz said China is indeed a true friend of Pakistan and has supported in every hour of need. Whether it was earthquake, flood or war, China has helped Pakistan and is still standing by Pakistan and making investment of billions of dollars in the energy sector, he added.

Shahbaz said that two prominent companies of China Shandong Ruyi and Shandong Huang, as a joint venture, are making investment in the coal power projects of 1320 megawatts in Sahiwal. He said the companies had promised to complete Sahiwal coal power project by December 201; however, on his request, the companies have assured to complete this project within two years. He said that no power plant of this size has been completed in two or two and a half years so far in the world. He said that whether this project is completed in thirty months or twenty four months, it will still be a world record. He said that Punjab government will launch more projects of this kind as well.