Pak to shelve major CPEC power project

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to shelve a major coal-based power plant project under the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, citing sufficient generation capacity already lined up for the next few years.

The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Balochistan with China’s Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had pushed for the construction of the 1,320 MW Rahim Yar Khan power project by China.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government of Prime Minister Imran Khan officially conveyed to Beijing that it was no more interested in the project in view of sufficient generation capacity already lined up for the next few years, the Dawn reported.

It has requested the Chinese friends to formally delete the project from the CPEC list, the report said.

During the 8th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting held last month, a Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar “proposed to remove the Rahim Yar Khan imported fuel power plant (1,320MW) from the CPEC list, in order to provide structure optimization space for the subsequent power market of Pakistan,” said an official, quoting minutes of the December 20 JCC meeting.

The Chinese side suggested that a joint study on optimization of energy mix be carried out at the earliest.

The project was originally pushed as imported coal-based plant by Quaid-i-Azam Thermal Company of the Punjab government led by PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif who used to attend meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Energy led by his brother and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PTI

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