Pakistan’s future hinges upon use of renewable energy: Shehbaz

F.P. Report
GHALANAI: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday stressed that there was need to immediately shift country’s power generation capacity to solar and wind power production systems as the costly power generation was continuously depleting the national exchequer.
During a briefing at the Mohmand Dam site, the prime minister said Pakistan had been facing a very acute problem of expensive power generation due to import of expensive fuels, and then subsidizing it for the consumers. He said it was three-tier losses to the national exchequer, as the country had been importing costly fuels for the power generation and then reducing the cost of the power for the consumers.
The prime minister referring to the timely completion of the hydel power projects, opined that these hydel power projects and tapping of other natural resources like solar and wind ‘are our future and we need to immediately shift to that direction, otherwise the economy will continue bleeding annually’. The prime minister also expressed his serious concerns over the damages caused to dykes and the construction site of the dam in the recent floods, and said that would delay its completion time and could hamper country’s progress.
He said the construction of dam was carried out by the Chinese and Pakistani people, and it would generate 800 MWs of inexpensive power besides, helping in water reservation and providing protection against flash flooding. The prime minister also appreciated China as a best friend of Pakistan, and said they had complete confidence in its support.
About the recent floods, he reiterated that with collective efforts and support of the people, they would overcome the losses. It was important to understand that the government had to provide affordable hydel power to the consumers and industries, and if the production was costly due to expensive fuels import, it would continue to cause colossal losses, he added. The prime minister cautioned that the national exchequer and resources would not be sufficed to meet such expensive production of power.
For the production of power with the help of solar and wind power systems, the natural resources should be tapped, like construction of dams which would be helpful in the storage of water. Underlining the need for timely completion of dams, he said country’s progress prosperity and economic development hinged upon their full and timely functioning. The prime minister directed the relevant authorities to investigate the matter of impacts caused by recent flood by hiring an independent third party.
He said there was need to look into the factors as to why dams were breached with floods and what steps would be taken to avoid such damages in future along with devising a future roadmap. The prime minister expressing his concerns said that such thing had happened in the Neelum-Jhelum power project and now occurred here due to floods. He said in the Neelum-Jhelum project, they had decided to hire independent consultants to thoroughly investigate the issue in a transparent manner.
Earlier, Wapda Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Sajjad Ghani gave a briefing over the project. Mohmand Dam is being constructed on River Swat in District Mohmand of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which would be completed in 2026. On completion, the dam will store about 1.2 million acre feet (MAF) of water and help mitigate floods in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera. Besides, supplementing 160,000 acres of existing land, about 18,237 acres of new land will also be irrigated. Mohmand Dam Power House will generate 800 megawatts (MW) of hydel electricity, contributing 2.86 billion units of low-cost and environment-friendly hydel electricity annually to the national grid. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs51.6 billion.
All flood victims to receive Rs 25,000 each by Sept 3: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here Monday said all flood victims in the country, including Khyber Pakthunkhwa, would receive cash assistance of Rs 25,000 each through the Benazir Income Support Programme by September 3.
The distribution of cash assistance among the flood-hit people was underway in all the provinces, including Sindh and Balochistan, as the federal government had allocated Rs 28 billion for the purpose, he said while talking to the flood victims here at the relief camps. The prime minister said Rs one million each would be provided to the heirs of deceased. Federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb and Murtaza Javed Abbasi, PM’s Adviser Engr Amir Muqam, Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftab Sherpao and Aawami National Party President Aimal Wali Khan also accompanied the prime minister during his visit to the relief camps.
Shehbaz Sharif said the federal government had provided funds of Rs 15 billion to Sindh and Rs10 billion to Balcohistan, while the special grant for the KP flood victims would be announced soon. He said some 242 people lost their lives in flood related incidents in the KP, with millions of houses either damaged or destroyed. His government would continue its efforts till the rehabilitation of the last affectee, he vowed.
The prime minister said all important necessary items, including food, water and medicines were being provided to the flood victims in the camps.
Shehbaz Sharif mingled with the flood victims and showed his affection with the children inside their tents. He inquired about their health and also offered Fateha for their loved ones who had lost their lives in floods. He heard the problems of flood victims and issued directives for their resolution.
The prime minister also distributed compensation cheques among the flood affectees on the occasion. KP Chief Secretary Dr Shahzad Bangash and Deputy Commissioner Nowshera briefed the prime minister about rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations in Charsadda. The affected people expressed happiness while seeing the prime minister among them. They thanked the prime minister for the compensation package.