Pakistan

PM Shehbaz inaugurates Mangla dam refurbishment project

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday inaugurated the refurbishment project of units five and six of Mangla dam aimed at enhancing its electricity generation capacity.

Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister termed the project a "wonderful example" of cooperation between Pakistan and the United States.

He said the total cost of the up-gradation project is $483 million, of which $150 million were provided by the US as a grant.

The premier emphasised the need for further enhancing bilateral cooperation between Islamabad and Washington in the field of trade and investment.

Alluding to the contributions Mangla dam has made to the country's economy, PM Shehbaz said "Pakistan cannot afford expensive energy on which annually Rs27 billion are currently being spent".

He underlined the need for exploiting indigenous resources including hydel, solar, air and coal to produce cheap electricity.

Shehbaz also said the present government has prepared a project to generate 10,000 megawatts of electricity through solar energy and that a 1,320-megawatt power project has also been initiated in Thar to use the indigenous coal for electricity production.

The premier regretted that the country could not fully exploit the hydel power potential of 60,000 megawatts.

He said that in addition to the extension of Mangla and Tarbela Dams, Diamer Basha, Dasu and other projects have been launched.

Read Six dams planned to resolve Pindi’s escalating water woes

The prime minister added that if these hydel projects had been completed earlier, the country would not have faced such destruction from the recent floods and its reliance on imported fuel would have been negligible.

PM Shehbaz further stressed the importance of unity to serve the country and steer it out of all challenges.

In his remarks on the occasion, the US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome also said that Mangla dam is "a great symbol of Pakistan-US cooperation".

He said amongst other hydropower projects, the United States is also assisting Pakistan to rehabilitate Tarbela power stations.

The ambassador said the rehabilitation work at Mangla will increase electricity output to meet the needs of an additional two million people and will ensure that Mangla power stations remain productive for the next several years.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman WAPDA Sajjad Ghani said that the government is showing keen interest in producing clean, green and cheap energy.

He said that WAPDA is pursuing a two pronged strategy under which the existing hydropower projects are being upgraded while construction work on new projects has also begun.

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