ISLAMABAD-Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday gave a nod to 300MW coal-fired power project in Gwadar and directed to complete the project by January 2025.

Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal has also directed Ministry for Maritime Affairs, Power Division, Gwadar Port Authority GPA and China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd (COPHCL) to ensure 100 percent power consumption of 300MW coal fired power project in order to avoid any financial loss to the national exchequer.   

The minister made these remarks while chairing a meeting to review progress over 300MW coal fired power project on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by chairman COPHCL, chairman Gwadar Port Authority GPA and other relevant stakeholders. The project was conceived under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC) in 2016 that would cater to the needs of some 150,000 local people by the end of 2023. During the meeting, the minister also directed the Power Division to review the project and address impediments within six months enabling the project to achieve COD in January 2025.

The project aimed at improving the reliability of the local power supply that would help gradually solve the problems in current economic development and urban construction in the Gwadar region, which is being restricted by the shortage of power. Earlier, the minister had directed the COPHECL to provide exact demand of the electricity for Gwadar Free Zone and share 10-year plan for electricity consumption by Gwadar Free Zone Company in order to establish exact electricity utilization of 300MW coal fired power project at Gwadar.

The minister further said that the government is already working on a project of two transmission lines from Iran that will increase the supply of the electricity to the port city.

It also merits mentioning here that earlier the Chinese company CIHC Pak Power Company Limited (CPPCL) working on 300MW Gwadar coal fired power project had termed the proposal for import of electricity from Iran to Gwadar and the proposed 600km 500KV transmission line from Hub to Gwadar as unreliable, susceptible to blackout due to technical or security concerns, which did not give investors the confidence to invest in the port city. The CIHC Pak Power Company Limited (CPPCL) had also termed the proposal of the PPIB regarding converting to local Thar coal instead of imported coal and relocation of power plant from Gwadar to Thar not feasible, official source told The Nation.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the incumbent government had revived all the CPEC projects since it came into power in April this year. The previous government had stopped all the CPEC projects. It is worth mentioning here that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif had already assured his Chinese counterparts that CPEC was the top priority of the govt.