PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that Pakistan is rich in water resources and have potential to generate 50,000MW hydel power. Talking to media persons after visiting the site of under construction Mohmand Dam here, the Prime Minister said Pakistan has capacity to generate 50,000MW electricity. Mohmand Dam having the capacity of 800MW would be completed by 2025.

He said work on other dams including mega Diamir-Basha, Kurram Tangi and Dasu Kohistan were simultaneously underway that would be completed by 2028.

These projects he said would bring additional 80,000 acres of land under cultivation. He said global warming, climate change and food security were big challenges faced by the country as water table in Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi was declining gradually.

He said tanker mafia was minting money from people in Karachi and such dams would help raise water table by protecting people from tanker mafia. He said about 300 million gallon water would be supplied from Mohmand dam to Peshawar for drinking purposes.

He said Ravi Project would help address water problems in Lahore. The Prime Minister said China had constructed about 5,000 big dams and 80,000 small dams while Pakistan had not constructed a single major electricity generating project for the last 50 years despite such huge potential. He said small dams could be constructed throughout the country.

He said past rulers had neglected construction of dams and considered these projects insignificant related to election perspective that negatively impacted power generation leading to load shedding and increase of electricity tariff.

The Prime Minister said that launching of costly energy projects including IPPs in the past had increased miseries of people as the past rulers used it for minting money and put extra burden on national exchequer. As a result of which circular debt, which was Rs480 billion in 2018 is expected to reach Rs1455 billion by 2023.

He said contracts with IPPs were signed in haste in the past that created issue of capacity payments to IPPs whether its electricity was utilised or otherwise. He said government had held successful negotiations with IPPs and saved a substantial amount being paid to IPPs.

He said Pakistan being an agriculture country continued to export wheat in last two years. He said a record production of this year is the result of agriculture-friendly policies of PTI Government.

Prime Minister urged people to use face masks and follow SOPs to contain coronavirus. He said that result-oriented policies have minimised the effects of the pandemic on labour and others work force as compare to neighbouring countries.