LAHORE  - Progressive Group on Thursday welcomed the commissioning of Pakistan’s first-ever solar power plant that has initially started contributing 100MW of energy in the national grid thus saving huge foreign exchange being spent on import of oil to produce same amount of electricity.

Progressive Group President Khalid Usman said though 100MW generation is too little to meet the ever increasing gap between generation and demand of power in the country. Nevertheless, as a start it is a good omen. Thermal generation is too expensive and puts burden both on the government kitty and pocket of the consumer. So, the rulers should go for generating power from alternative sources such as wind, solar and coal. It is good that the Punjab government had set up a pilot project of 100MW from its own resources and its success would automatically attract investment from other countries or investors from within the country to reach the goal of generating 1000 mw from Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park by year 2016, they added.

However, Progressive Group leaders were of the view that the government should still work hard for going to construct hydel power projects which are cheaper power generation means and can give boost to not only the power generation but also bring down its tariff for industrial, commercial and domestic consumers.

They stated that the government should still initiate a larger national debate on importance of Kalabagh Dam for creating consensus on its construction keeping in view the hardships being faced by all because of lower availability of water and shortage of power as well as its high prices. Immediate construction of Kalabagh Dam will not only serve as a huge water reservoir but also produce cheaper energy which is the major issue being faced by the households, agriculture and industrial sectors of Pakistan. They suggested that there should be a national debate by politicians, engineers, qualified people and all stakeholders from all the provinces to take a decision about the Kalabagh dam. There should also be an interprovincial exchange of delegations, seminars on national and regional levels to convince the residents of those province about benefit of Kalabagh Dam who are opposed to this dam. They said that construction of dams would save Pakistan from the devastation of floods which were hitting the country off and on. It not only play havoc with the life and property of the country but also destroy standing crops standing over large piece of land and construction of water reservoirs and dams would help stop this devastation, they concluded.