ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to accelerate pace of work on projects being executed under the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
He was addressing a ceremony in connection with the inauguration of the country’s first-ever transmission line of 660 KV High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) from Matiari to Lahore completed under CPEC.
The prime minister pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic created hurdles including disruption of supply chains which increased prices of essential commodities. However, he said as the situation is improving, progress will again be visible on CPEC-related projects.
PM Imran Khan said the scope of the corridor project is now being expanded from power generation and road infrastructure projects to cooperation in the areas of industries and agriculture to help reduce the debt burden through wealth creation.
Regarding the Matiari-Lahore transmission line, the prime minister said this 886-kilometre long state-of-the-art transmission line will help reduce power losses from 17 to four percent, resulting in the availability of cheap electricity for consumers. He said more investment will be made in the transmission line projects to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the consumers. In his remarks,
PM Imran Khan said the project is now ready for electricity transmission after testing phase of six months. He said other projects under the CPEC will also be completed on time. He expressed the resolve to address the country’s power-related issues.
The prime minister said the project would prove as a leading energy transmission artery from the country’s north to south. He said the significant reduction of line losses would save billions and also reduce the burden on common man paying the expensive electricity bills.
He regretted that the previous government did not carry out on-ground work on the Matiari-Lahore project signed with China in 2013, which made the public immensely suffer the power load shedding. He expressed satisfaction that his government carried out the construction work of the project at full pace and completed it despite the pandemic.
Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said the project was made operational after testing in three phases including the peak seasons and would help in removing the transmission bottleneck.
He said the present government started construction work on this landmark project. He said the CPEC power projects were the important pillars of Pakistan’s economic system and were acting as smart and efficient sources of green energy generation.
Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong termed the operationalization of 660 KV HVDC project a milestone and said Pakistan’s power grid system had now entered a new era of development and upgradation.
He said cheap electricity was key to socio-economic development of Pakistan and vowed that China would continue to extend its support in this regard. He mentioned that the 886 km transmission line would go along 510 km of motorway and create around 70,000 jobs in the country.
President State Grid Corporation of China Xin Baoan in his video-link address to the ceremony said the 70th anniversary of Pak-China friendship was marked by cooperation at diverse levels for the benefit of their people.
He said his corporation would work closely with its local counterparts in Pakistan on projects of energy cooperation. The HVDC transmission line project will evacuate power from the upcoming coal-based thermal power plants located at Port Qasim, Hub and Thar.