‘Energy crisis crippling industrial, agricultural sectors’ | Pakistan Today

‘Energy crisis crippling industrial, agricultural sectors’

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said Pakistan is facing a serious energy crisis which has caused huge losses to the industrial and agriculture sectors. He was presiding over a meeting regarding the formulation of a comprehensive policy for the launch of new power generation projects in the province.
He said in order to cope with this problem; the Punjab government is encouraging private sector investment as a way of getting rid of load shedding.
He stated that an energy department has been set up in the province which is extending the assistance necessary for launching new power generation projects. He added that the establishment of the Power Generation Development Fund has been proposed for launching six projects that will ensure the production of 1000 megawatts of energy in the province.
Sharif said the fund will be completely autonomously and will provide the required technical assistance for the setting up new power generation projects.
The meeting reviewed in detail the existing power crisis. It was noted that the power consumption in Punjab, which constitutes 50 percent of the population of the country, is 68 percent while the province is contributing 65 percent to the total GDP.
Moreover, due to the favourable business conditions, 60 percent of Pakistan’s industries are operating in Punjab but the power outages have seriously damaged the industrial sector.
The CM added that Punjab has the best track record in the country with regard to power consumption and payment of dues and that the performance of all the five distribution companies of the province is much better than the other federal units in terms of controlling power theft and the recovery of dues.
The chief minister said small power projects can be initiated to supply power to the small industrial estates set up in the province, adding that investment by the private sector is being encouraged for this purpose.
Sharif stated that solar irradiation is sufficient in southern Punjab; therefore, solar panels can be given to farmers living in far-flung areas of the region for meeting the agricultural sector’s power requirements. He said the solar panels will help farmers meet their irrigational needs through pumps operated by solar energy.
The CM added that it will also save the heavy expenditure on tube wells operated through diesel and electricity. He directed that a scheme be devised to provide solar panels to the farmers who own up to 12.5 acres of agricultural land, on the pattern of the Green Tractor scheme.
Shahbaz Sharif said the provincial government is also launching mega projects for drip and sprinkle irrigation at a cost of Rs 32 billion which will help in the economical use of water for agricultural purposes.
He said that every effort is being made by the provincial government to eliminate the darkness of despair caused by the energy crisis.
The meeting also noted that the solar energy plants set up by Provincial Disaster Management Authority in the model villages of Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan have greatly facilitated the local population.
Earlier, Uch Power Private Limited Chief Executive Officer Pervaiz Afzal Khan gave a detailed briefing to the meeting regarding the roadmap for new power generation projects in collaboration with the private sector. He said up to 5000 megawatt power can be produced with an investment of five billion dollars in the energy sector during the next five years.

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