China hails unveiling of CPEC power plant, says will help millions in Pakistan
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the first 660-MW unit of the Sahiwal coal power project in Punjab province. With a total expected capacity of 1320 MW, the plant is considered an early harvest project under the $46-billion CPEC.world Updated: May 31, 2017 20:00 IST
China said on Wednesday a priority energy project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) inaugurated last week will benefit millions of people in Pakistan and strengthen the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the first 660-MW unit of the Sahiwal coal power project in Punjab province. With a total expected capacity of 1320 MW, the plant is considered an early harvest project under the $46-billion CPEC.
India has repeatedly raised its concerns about the CPEC with China, saying the corridor is a “sovereignty” issue as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Projects under the CPEC have also run into problems over security and have been marred by differences among Pakistani political parties on the corridor’s routes.
But that hasn’t stopped Beijing from going ahead with various road, energy and transportation projects under the CPEC.
“After the completion of the power station, it will (have) the largest installed capacity of Pakistan's clean coal-fired power plants. The annual power generation is expected to be more than 9 billion KW to meet the local demand of nearly 10 million people,” foreign ministery spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing on Wednesday.
“It is estimated that most of the power projects will be completed preceding the year 2019, easing lack of energy in Pakistan which will benefit the people,” she added.
Hua said 17 priority energy projects were being completed under the CPEC, adding the Sahiwal project “marked the intensive building and completion period of the projects”. She said, “The Prime Minister of Pakistan has applauded the efficiency of the building of this project.”
She also described the Sahiwal project as a game changer, adding: “We have also seen the benefits brought by the CPEC projects and Belt and Road Initiative.”
Several CPEC projects are currently under construction. In the energy sector, work on 13 projects, including the Port Qasim coal plant in Sindh and ZTE Energy Pakistan PV power plant in Punjab, is going on, the foreign ministry said.
Under transportation, the “Lahore city rail transit project, the phase II of Karakoram Highway upgradation project (from Thakot to Havelian), the Lahore-Karachi Expressway (from Sukkur to Multan) and construction for three other transport projects (relating to building) infrastructure have started”, the ministry had told Hindustan Times.