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PM inaugurates biggest 100MW solar plant

BAHALWALPUR: After inaugurating  the first unit of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised on Tuesday that load-shedding is expected to end by 2018, media reported.
"Load-shedding will end by 2017-2018," the prime minister said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of 100 megawatt solar project.
PM Nawaz said China and Pakistan will constitute a special committee to ensure the timely completion of the projects, worth $46 billion, launched by the two countries.
"We want to make sure that the present government completes these projects on time unlike the previous governments," the prime minister said.
He said the world is acknowledging the progress made by Pakistan.
"These power projects spread a positive message to the investors, who were unable to invest to electricity shortage previously," the prime minister said.
PM Nawaz said the solar park is not just the biggest solar project of Pakistan but of the world.
"Energy crisis is the second most important issue  and now there is a hope that we will soon tackle the energy crisis through this solar project, coal project and other energy projects, " he added.
The prime minister said around 1000 megawatt electricity will be produced under the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in its later phase while the Thar Coal Power project as well as other projects will collectively add 10400 megawatt of electricity to the national grid in the future.
"Democracy is witnessed delivering tangible results for the first time," he said.
Speaking about the cost of electricity, PM Nawaz said it has decreased significantly by 5.79 rupees per unit. " It is a huge achievement," he added.
Earlier, while addressing the inauguration ceremony Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif said the project is yet another milestone in Pakistan and China's all weather friendship.
Shahbaz said the project was completed with the cooperation of China.
"The Solar Park is an investment made by China but much more than that it is China's unwavering support lent to Pakistan," he added.
Shahbaz said the project has been completed in a very short period of time because of the hard work of the workers.
Speaking about the quality of the project, CM Punjab said each and every aspect of it was checked and approved by German consultants before any payments were made.
The project was inducted into the national transmission grid as soon as it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today (May 5). Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong was also in attendance and addressed the ceremony.
The first unit was completed at a cost of $131 million in one year.
The Punjab government had announced plans to establish the Qauid-e-Azam Solar Park over an area of 10,000 acres in Bahawalpur district. The Qauid-e-Azam Solar Park Company was then registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
According to an energy department official, the project was scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of 2014.
"However, it was delayed after the Chinese firm granted the contract failed to fulfill the criteria during the due-diligence process carried out by Punjab government," he added.

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