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Uninterrupted power supply is govt’s top priority: Asif

The government is attaching top priority to provide affordable and uninterrupted electricity to the people, and is working on multiple strategies to address the challenges.

In this regard Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) is being further strengthened as a one window facilitator, and procedures are being made easier and investor friendly. This was stated by Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif while chairing the 94th meeting of the board of PPIB held on Tuesday.

The Water and Power Secretary and PPIB MD briefed the board on the efforts being done to enhance the electricity capacity in the country. It was told that 84 megawatts (MW) New Bong Hydropower Project which was recently inaugurated by the prime minister is the first hydel IPP of the country and has active support of the ADB, IDB and IFC. The 404 MW Uch-II Power Project based on low BTU gas is in progress and is expected to commission by January 2014, while the policy of conversion of thermal project to coal will inject another 2,000 MW to the national grid. Board was appraised that PPIB has also developed the co-generation project with the active participation on PSMA and the other stakeholders which will encourage power generation through bagasse.

PPIB has been entrusted with a challenging task of facilitating the Pakistan Power Park Management Company Limited which is responsible to establish a park of 6,600 MW imported coal based power plants. Furthermore, 590 MW Mahl Hydropower Project has recently been announced on International Competitive Bidding (ICB) basis for which Chinese and local firms have shown interest and submitted proposals.

The board approved signing of Implementing Agreement of two hydro power plants namely 840 MW Sukki Kinari at river Kunhar, District Manshera and 100 MW Gulpur to be located at River Poonch, District Kotli, AJK. The board also approved the solicitation of projects through competitive bidding for 100 MW Kotli Hydropower Project and 132 MW Rajdhani Hydropower Project at River Poonch, AJK.

Social and economic development and improvement in maternal and child health is priority for our government and this ministry will make every effort to support the provinces in this regard.

The minister said that she is taking a major step forward in introducing good governance, transparency and accountability in functioning of our major child protection initiative.

She said that EPI is one of the major public health initiatives of Pakistan. Huge financial resources are spent every year to save lives of mothers and newborn from vaccine preventable diseases. EPI has made some progress but full coverage of all nine antigens remains our target. In this context, the policymakers at provincial and federal levels along with real implementers on ground are required to consistently work hard. Business as usual is not going to work and our goal can only be achieved by improving service delivery of EPI centres for raising coverage of routine immunisation.

Unless, we bring our routine immunisation coverage to a reasonable level, we cannot save our children from outbreak of diseases.

NHSRC Secretary Imtiyaz Inayat Elahi said experience shows that the EPI does not possess an efficient logistics and inventory system for vaccines and Cold Chain Equipment with the capacity to meet the demand of the largest public Health Initiative in the country. The new system would provide data visibility at the federal, provincial, district and union council level for the planners and implementers to take informed decision to bring about improvements in the programme.

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