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April 11, 2019

Two Thar coal power plants opened: Those who claimed, failed to deliver, says Bilawal

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April 11, 2019

ISLAMKOT: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday termed the Thar coal power plant a "pride for all of Pakistan" and said the entire country would benefit from the electricity generated by the plant.

Addressing a ceremony after inaugurating two coal power plants of the 660 megawatts in Thar, Bilawal said it was the country's "most successful project" and that his mother, the late Benazir Bhutto, had dreamt of providing electricity to Pakistan with Thar's coal.

"This is Pakistan's most successful project. This is naya Thar. This is naya Pakistan," the PPP leader said. "This is what is called 'good governance'. This is what you call a 'mega project'," he continued, adding, "Others only talked. PPP actually delivered."

Bilawal said he was proud to have inaugurated a project that his mother had laid foundation for. He told the audience that it was the late prime minister who had first introduced the concept of public-private partnership in her 1993 manifesto. He announced that the Sindh government will provide free electricity to the residents of Islamkot and Thar once the project starts generating electricity.

Bilawal further announced a campus of the NED University of Engineering and Technology would be set up in Thar. "I also want that Thar gets its own university. I want an NED University campus in Thar," he said while directing the concerned authorities to establish the campus in the area soon.

Bilawal said the people of Thar have the first right to electricity from the Thar coal but the provincial government has no authority to provide electricity directly to the people of Thar. He lamented that “to some extent, we are denying the right of people of Thar by not giving them electricity. Therefore, I have directed the Sindh government to pay the monthly electricity dues of domestic power consumers of Islamkot from its resources,” he said and added in the next phase, similar facility would be extended to the rest of Tharparkar.

"Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had got vacated 5,000 square kilometres of Thar land from India in 1973. This is the same land from where we are producing coal energy,” he said. Bilawal Bhutto said April 10 is a historic day for Pakistan and the PPP which achieved the major landmarks. “On this day, the 1973 Constitution was framed and on April 10, 1986 Benazir Bhutto had landed in Lahore after ending her exile and it is again today that we have inaugurated the first indigenous Thar coal-fired power,” he said. He recalled that in 1994, Benazir Bhutto along with then Chief Minister Syed Abdullah Shah had performed the ground-breaking ceremony of Thar coal mining and power plant. “Today, I on behalf of Benazir Bhutto and Syed Abdullah Shah, his son Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, have inaugurated the Thar coal-fired power plant,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Murad Ali Shah said the power generation from Thar coal is as much a big achievement as it was of making Pakistan a nuclear power. He said Thar has changed Pakistan by generating 660MW from the indigenous source, coal. He said Pakistan is a developing country and we need to explore our indigenous energy sources. “Thar coal is a great source of energy which we have developed despite extreme opposition and discouragement,” he said.

"I just inaugurated Thar coal power plant. The highest man-made structure in Pakistan," Bilawal tweeted earlier in the day. The project was completed under CPEC flagship public-private partnership of Sindh government in 10 years. The Sindh government has given the sovereign guarantee of $700 million for this project.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former planning minister Ahsan Iqbal congratulated Bilawal for inaugurating the project and said, "Thar Coal project demonstrates the power of collaboration. The PML-N federal govt, PPP Sindh govt and Engro-private sector worked as a team to make this CPEC dream come true.”

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