PM urges opponents not to indulge in blame game

APP74-19 SHEIKHUPURA: April 19 - Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif addressing the gathering at inaugural ceremony of Bhikki Power Plant. APP photo by Chaudhry Ansar

BHIKKI, April 19 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Wednesday urged his political opponents not to indulge in the blame game, else they would end up in oblivion as the people would only remember Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for its service to them.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the operationalisation of the first phase of Bhikki power plant, adding 717 MW to the national grid, Nawaz Sharif said, “The newcomers in politics can only lie, do sit-ins, level baseless allegations and make tall claims.”
“Fear Allah, stop politics of allegations, else you too will go into oblivion and in the end only Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will be in the fore,” Nawaz Sharif said.
He said despite their efforts they had failed to win the hearts of the people and mentioned the defeat of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate in a by-election yesterday.
“We earlier won by 8,000 votes in 2013 general election, but yesterday we got lead of over 22,000 votes, despite the fact that all other political forces backed the PTI candidate,” he said.
The Prime Minister was also critical of the previous Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in its failure to address the serious issue of power outages and said those, who were responsible for the current loadshedding, were today threatening to lodge protest.
“You must be ashamed of yourself. Had you considered Pakistan your own country and served the nation with honesty and dedication, we would not have faced such a bad situation,” the Prime Minister said.
He said Balochistan was abandoned by the previous governments and now several development projects were near fruition there. He regretted that the previous governments never bothered to undertake any development project in the province.
He said the federal government was pleased to undertake several development projects in Karachi and Sindh, despite the fact that it was provincial responsibility.
The Prime Minister said there was no such tendency in the country to complete such large projects in a short span of 18 months. Operationalization of Bhikki plant in 18 months was a new chapter in the country’s history of progress and prosperity, he added.
He said there had been a trend in the past to complete a project costing Rs 10 billion in Rs 100 billion and mentioned delays in completion of Lowari Tunnel, Nandipur, and Neelum Jhelum.
“Had Shahbaz Sharif not taken personal interest and not monitored the project, the cost would have escalated,” he said and referred to Haveli Bahadur and Baloki projects, where the savings were to the tune of Rs 154 billion.
“Had we moved at this pace in the past 70 years, Pakistan would have been an economic power today.”The Prime Minister said the delay in Haveli Bahadur
Shah and Baloki projects was due to delay in shipment of turbines and all efforts were being made to complete them in time. Every month a new project would be inaugurated, he added.
He said Chashma 315 MW would be operational in May while many others were in the pipeline. Several projects would be completing by next year and around 10,000 MW would be available by June next year.
Nawaz Sharif said the Punjab government had spent from its own resources on the Haveli Bahadur Shah, Baloki and Bhikki projects.
He said strict action would be taken against those, who were responsible for the current loadshedding.
He said there had been a seven per cent increase in the demand of electricity against four per cent in the past. The country was moving ahead at a fast pace as was evident from the growing demand, he added.
He said Bhasha and Dasu dams would complete in next few years, adding 9,000 MWs to the system.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif termed the completion of the gas power plant in 18 months a record and said owing to transparent bidding, the government had saved a huge amount of Rs 50 billion. The plant would provide power at the cheapest rate of Rs 7.37 per unit, he added.
He said apart from power generation projects, his government was working on road building projects and pointed to efforts for completion of the motorway from Karachi to Peshawar by 2020.
He said Rs 1,000 billion was being spent on road building projects alone across the country. New airports and other projects were being built. There had been marked improvement in the working of the Railways, while a new airport was being constructed for Islamabad.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Punjab Governor Muhammad Rafique Rajwana and Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of State Abid Sher Ali, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong and provincial ministers.
The Prime Minister earlier inaugurated the Bhikki power plant, adding 717 MW to the national grid and lessening woes of the people facing long hours of load shedding.
Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif thanked the Prime Minister for sparing time for the inauguration of the project built in the shortest possible timeframe and at record low cost.
He lauded the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his commitment and vision to address the serious issue of power shortage and said he took the country forward despite the problems created by the sit-in protestors and their delaying tactics in taking the country forward.
He said the PTI’s sit-in in Islamabad was a heinous conspiracy against the country as its protestors refused to budge even during the visit of the Chinese President to Pakistan. The visit had to be postponed for over 10 months and the country’s march towards progress and prosperity delayed, he added.Shehbaz Sharif said the project along with other similar projects in Punjab were a glaring proof that the government was committed to ending the curse of loadshedding for good.
He termed it a land mark project and said the current project was far more efficient than those in Haveli Bahadur Shah, Baloki, Sahiwal and Guddu.
The Chief Minister said no project in the world could become operational in a short period of 18 months after facing teething problems.
He was critical of those, who looted billions in the Nandipur project and said the PML-N government had to spend an additional amount of around Rs 20 billion to make it operational. He said the Pakistan Peoples Party government had initiated the project without any transparency as it was supposed to complete at a cost of Rs 33 billion.
“Those, who looted this nation, today shout at the top of their voice in claiming that they served the people,” he added.
Shehbaz Sharif while recalling the statement that the Panama verdict would be remembered for centuries to come, said what the Prime Minister had done for Pakistan would be cherished by the people for at least next 40 years, the operational life of the power plants.
Aahad Cheema, Chief Executive Officer of the Quaid-e-Azam Power Plant, said the Rs 77 billion project, which would run on liquefied natural gas, was the most cost efficient plant and would serve as a model for future projects.
He said Rs 16 billion would be saved in next 12 years in operations and management alone, while overall Rs 320 billion would be saved over the project life of 30 years. He also gave a comparison with other projects and said Bhikki would generate power at a rate of $466 per KW.
He thanked the provincial and federal governments for fast tracking the processing, procurement, transportation, customs clearance etc for the project.
Mohammad Ali, President & CEO of General Electric’s Gas Power Systems – Projects, in the Middle East, North Africa and India, said the plant was an example of the government’s commitment towards addressing the serious issue of power shortages. He said his company was providing 25 per cent of power plants for various ongoing projects. He said there were over 1000 engines operating in the country, many using biogas.
The Prime Minister was briefed about the salient features of the project. He was taken around the control room of the plant and was informed about its highly efficient environment-friendly operations.
The plant would save Rs 320 billion in operational cost alone in next 30 years. The highest output gas plant was built at the lowest cost ever leading to the lowest production cost in the world of $466,000 per megawatt (MW).
The Bhikki power plant, a key project of the Punjab government, upon completion would provide a total of 1,180 MW. The project runs on General Electric 209HA Combined Cycle Technology, being executed by Harbin Electric International as EPC Contractor.
The project, near Sheikhupura, has been completed jointly by AEPL, General Electric, Harbin Electric International and their construction contractor Tianjin Electric.
He was informed that the plant would also have record efficiency of 61.59 per cent as compared to other power generation plants in the country.
The Prime Minister, who earlier visited the project in February this year to monitor the progress, said eliminating load shedding from the country was his government’s major challenge.