JARANWALA/FAISALABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said the previous governments must account for the energy and economic crises that dragged the country into darkness and damaged the economy.
“In 1960, we were ahead of South Korea in development. In 1990, we were the best in the region. In 1999, we were the top economy in South Asia, but in 2013, we were the last,” the prime minister said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the 40MW coal-fired power plant at the Sitara Chemical Industries Ltd (SCIL) near Khurrianwala.
The project has been completed in two years and three months at the cost of Rs3.5 billion.
The coal-fired power plant’s boiler is based on Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion technology, having the best automation system. Continuous emission monitoring system is placed which monitors the emission of gases 24/7 to protect environment.
The prime minister said a dictator ruled the country for seven years before the five-year term by another government. “They will have to give account for it. History will never forgive them,” he remarked.
The prime minister said political instability and inconsistent policies had generated economic crisis but the government was making efforts to regain the lost status of the national economy.
Nawaz promised that the power crisis would be overcome by 2018 and said it was pleasing to see investment from both public and private sectors in the energy sector.
The prime minister said there was no electricity for industrial and domestic consumers two years ago, as protests against 12 to 16 hours of loadshedding were routine in places like Faisalabad. But, he added, besides the common man, industries were also getting power supply for the last two years.
Nawaz said the government was focusing on low-cost power generation to reduce the commodity prices and enhance exports.
He said the increased revenue would result in more expenditure on development projects, health and education sectors, road infrastructure and poverty alleviation.
He again mentioned the previous governments’ failure to maintain and expand the motorway network, and said the PML-N government had again started constructing motorways in different parts of the country that would ultimately link Peshawar and Lahore with Gwadar and Karachi.
Nawaz said in the absence of better road infrastructure, businessmen could not transport their products to local or international markets and also referred to the government’s project of farm-to-market roads, which would greatly benefit the farmers.
He said the national economy was in the take-off position after the government’s successful efforts against terrorism and for economic revival, which were also being acknowledged by the international institutions.
The prime minister said the nationalisation of industries in 1970s was a setback to the national economy and assured the SCIL to remove all bottlenecks in the power plant operation. He also especially mentioned the government’s efforts for revival of public sector organisations, including PIA.
He said the situation was improving in Karachi and hoped that the country’s economic engine would regain its lost grandeur.
Expressing his sorrow over the Friday’s terror attack in Mardan, the prime minister said terrorists were targeting soft targets after the government was able to achieve major successes against their networks. Terrorism would soon be completely eliminated from the country, he vowed.
Nawaz said besides carrying out infrastructural and other development projects, the government was determined to improve the living standard of people by providing clean drinking water and extending health and education facilities.
He cited the example of 40 state-of-the-art hospitals that would be established across the country and the project to improve sanitation and increase the number of girls’ schools.
The prime minister lauded the services of SCIL Chairman Mian Idrees in business sector as well as for charity and public welfare, truly following the footprints of his father Mian Bashir.
In his welcoming address, Idrees lauded the government’s efforts for the revival of national economy and said the SCIL would have 15 megawatts surplus electricity that should either be purchased by the state or they should be allowed to distribute among the nearby associated companies.
As the prime minister was returning to board his helicopter after the function as, the district president of PML-N Youth Wing, Aftab Akbar Chaudhry, ran towards him while shouting “Mian sahib, Mian sahib”. However, the police detained him and shifted him to some unknown location.