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The progress is linked with democracy: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

Lahore : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Sunday said that the country had been put on right track and the journey of development would go on if the democratic system continued.

 Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the first power unit of Gollen Gol Hydropower Project here, the prime minister said the power and gas crisis had been resolved and the erstwhile falling ratio of economic growth was now on surge.

“Pakistan has been put on right track. Now you have again to decide in July (elections). This (development) process would continue if you make a right decision. You have the powers to make these decisions. This is the democracy. This is the representation. This is the course of country’s development,” he remarked after unveiling the plaque of the project.

The prime minister was accompanied by MNA from Chitral Shahzada Iftikharuddin and senior officials as he unveiled the project.

The total installed generation capacity of the project is 108 MW with three generating units – each of them having a capacity of 36 MW. The first unit has been completed, while the second and the third unit would be commissioned in March and May 2018 respectively. This quantum of electricity is three times more than the present requirements of Chitral, and will also cater for the surge in electricity demand in future.

The prime minister assured the people that the project would first meet the needs of the whole of Chitral area and only the surplus electricity would be supplied to other areas.

He said no doubt, Chitral would now become load-shedding free area as the project would be capable to meet Chitral’s needs even during the drought season.

Prime Minister Abbasi, who wore Pakol, a traditional Chitrali cap, said that the Pakistan Muslim League-N had carried out record development works in Chitral like the development of Lowari Tunnel, Gollen Gol power project and inclusion of the area in China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said it was the PML-N government that spent Rs 28 billion to complete the Lowari Tunnel project that had been lingering for the last 42 years after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto launched it in 1973.

“This is the difference between the government which delivers and the ones merely making tall claims, unveiling plaques or making false commitments,” he added.

He said after construction of road from Gilgit to Chitral under CPEC, the travel duration from here to Islamabad would reduce to half – from 12 to 6 hours.

He said the government was striving to supply electricity even to the hilly areas and told the gathering that work on gas supply project to Chitral had also been initiated.

He said Chitral remained deprived of government funds in the past but the incumbent government proved its words by making up the deficiencies. The people’s decision to elect Nawaz Sharif as prime minister proved beneficial for them, he added.

The prime minister said that Chitral had immense potential to generate around 12000 MW but it would take time to exploit it.

Seeking public support for completion of the power project, the prime minister also assured the local MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin to provide maximum funds to overhaul the power transmission system in the area.

He also thanked the Chairman WAPDA, Chinese workers and Saudi Fund for the successful completion of the project in difficultly accessible area.

Gollen Gol project would provide 436 million units of electricity to the national grid every year. Benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs 3.7 billion per annum.

The approved PC-I cost of the project amounts to Rs 29 billion. In addition to WAPDA’s own sources, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Saudi Fund for Development, Kuwait Development Fund and OPEC Fund for International Development had also been providing financial assistance for completion of the project.

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