Pakistan to set up 1,400-MW coal-based power project

Islamabad, June 17 (IANS) Pakistan has approved a coal-based 1,400-MW power project by the Shanghai Electric Group of China in Sindh province.

The project, in the Hindu-majority district of Tharparkar, is among the “prioritised projects” under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and is scheduled to start power generation in 2017-18, Dawn reported on Wednesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the ambitious $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during his visit to Pakistan in April.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised “very strongly” the issue of the China-Pakistan economic corridor during his visit to Beijing last month and told them that it was “unacceptable”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said in New Delhi.

“Prime minster during his visit took up the issue very firmly and spoke very strongly that the CPEC going through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was unacceptable,” she said.

The power project in Tharparkar was approved in a meeting of the board of directors of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), presided over by Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

The meeting was informed that Shanghai Electric would install four power units of 350 MW each at Tharparkar.

This is the second coal-based power project in Tharparkar under the independent power project (IPP) mode approved by the PPIB, the first being the 660-MW Engro Power Project.

The development of Tharparkar coal resources was expected to provide a major breakthrough to develop huge generation capacity using cheap local coal.

Most Hindus in Pakistan live in Sindh and a majority are residents of Tharparkar. Most of them are poor farmers who are also facing poor rainfall for almost five successive years.

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