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October 13, 2019
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Major CPEC power project gets the axe

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has decided to drop a major power project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The project was included by former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in CPEC.

A report in Dawn said that Islamabad has officially conveyed to Beijing that it is no more interested in the 1,320MW Rahim Yar Khan power project. Pakistan is of the view it has sufficient generation capacity already lined up for the next few years.

A formal request has been made to Beijing to delete the project from the CPEC list.

During the 8th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting held last month, Pakistani delegation has sought to scrap the project from CPEC list.  The delegation was led by Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar.

The report said that the Chinese side had suggested that a joint study on optimisation of energy mix be carried out at the earliest.

The project was originally pushed as an imported coal-based plant by Quaid-i-Azam Thermal Company of the Punjab government led by Shahbaz Sharif.

The project was removed from the CPEC priority list when then bureaucracy highlighted that surplus generation capacity had already been contracted and more contracts would lead the country to ‘capacity trap’. The government had already notified a ban on capacity addition on imported fuels as early as June 2016 and the Rahim Yar Khan and Muzaffargarh coal-based plants were removed from the CPEC priority list.