PM Shehbaz blames ‘cartels’ for impeding construction of dams, solar power projects

Earlier, in his speech, PM Shehbaz claimed powerful lobbies and cartels didn’t allow the construction of dams and the launch of solar power projects, according to APP.

He also emphasised the need to generate cheap electricity to cut energy imports.

Pakistan was already facing immense economic challenges and could not bear the heavy energy import bills, he added.

“We need to utilise alternative sources of electricity production,” he said, adding that Pakistan was spending an ‘exorbitant’ $27bn on energy-related imports.

Dams were crucial to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially in the wake of recent floods, the prime minister pointed out.

The prime minister also hailed the USAID who provided assistance in the refurbishment project and called it a brilliant example of Pakistan-US cooperation.

He lauded the $150 million grant by USAID, along with financial support of 90m euros from the Development Agency of France.

The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) contributed $178m for the project, he said.

In his speech, US Ambassador Donald Blome said the dam was a great symbol of “the US-Pakistan cooperation” and added the country was also assisting Wapda to increase power generation from Tarbela and Gomal Zam dams.

He said maintenance and upgrades of dams were of critical importance in the wake of climate change and expressed hope that the green alliance between the two countries would prove beneficial for the energy and agriculture sectors of Pakistan.

Wapda Chairman retd Lt Gen Sajjad Ghani said the refurbishment project was in line with the centre’s policy to produce energy from green and cheap sources.

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