Sindh throws caution to the wind

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After much convincing, the provincial government of Sindh finally agreed to allot land on priority for wind power projects to speed up installation of wind masts to show commitment of the incumbent government in countering the massive energy crisis before the upcoming general elections. An official source said that the Sindh government agreed to speed up allotment of land at a specially convened meeting by the Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar and attended by the Chairman Sindh Board of Investment, Zubair Motiwala, Secretary Sindh BOI, Naheed Durrani, CEO AEDB, Arif Allauddin and senior officials of Sindh government.
Sindh, the source said was reluctant to lease any land to investors on the recommendations of the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) saying that after 18th amendment the matter was fell under the jurisdiction of provincial government. The repeated requests of the board to check the illegal land grabbing and demand from extortion from investors fell on deaf years. The Sindh government agreed to allot land to private investors, only after it was informed that it was desire by the party supreme command to show some kind of activity in the wind corridor of Gharo Keti Bandar having estimated 50,000 MW potential before the next general elections. It was agreed that the Sindh government will be kept in the loop in finalizing wind energy projects in the province. So far land has been allotted for three projects even though more than a dozen applications were lying with the AEDB. Sindh agreed to revise its land utilization policy to facilitate the investors and draft will be sent to the Ministry of Water and Power with in couple of days. The land will be provided to the investors within 15 days after incorporating input from the Ministry in land utilization policy.
It was also agreed that allotment of land for those projects will be cancelled which have not completed formalities despite getting LOIs from AEDB and Sindh BOI. It was also decided that the land will be allotted to the investors as per the capacity of the project. Many influential people had applied for land leases just to make money by offering it to interested investors. The government has set a target to produce 1000 MW from wind energy by 2013. The government has already notified a feed-in tariff for the wind power projects to expedite investment in the sector.