MOHMAND: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Monday stressed the need to immediately shift the country’s power generation capacity to solar and wind power production systems as the costly power generation was continuously depleting the national exchequer. During a briefing at the Mohmand Dam site, the prime minister said Pakistan had been facing a very acute problem of costly power generation due to import of expensive fuels, and then subsidizing it for the consumers. He said it was three-tier losses to the national exchequer, as the country had been importing costly fuels for the power generation and then reducing the cost of the power for the consumers. The prime minister, referring to the timely completion of the hydel power projects, opined that those projects and tapping of other natural resources like solar and wind “are our future and we need to immediately shift to that direction, otherwise the economy will continue bleeding annually”. He also expressed his serious concerns over the damages caused to dykes and the construction site of the dam in the recent floods, which, he said, would delay its completion time and could hamper the country’s progress. He said the dam’s construction was carried out by the Chinese and Pakistani people, and it would generate 800 MWs of inexpensive power, besides helping in water reservation and providing protection against flash flooding. The prime minister also appreciated China as the best friend of Pakistan, and said they had complete confidence in its support. About the recent floods, he reiterated that with collective efforts and support of the people, they would overcome the losses. It was important to understand that the government had to provide affordable hydel power to the consumers and industries, and if the production was costly due to expensive fuels import, it would continue to cause colossal losses, he added. The prime minister cautioned that the national exchequer and resources would not be sufficed to meet such expensive production of power. For the power production with the help of solar and wind power systems, he said, the natural resources should be tapped, like the construction of dams which would be helpful in the storage of water. Underlining the need for timely completion of dams, he said the country’s progress, prosperity and economic development hinged upon their full and timely functioning. The prime minister directed the relevant authorities to investigate the matter of damages caused to the system by hiring an independent third party. He said there was the need to look into the factors as to why dams were breached with floods and what steps would be taken to avoid such damages in future along with devising a future roadmap. The prime minister, expressing his concerns, said such thing had happened in the Neelum-Jhelum power project and now occurred here due to the floods. He said in the Neelum-Jhelum project, they had decided to hire independent consultants to thoroughly investigate the issue in a transparent manner. Earlier, Wapda Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Sajjad Ghani gave a briefing over the project. Mohmand Dam is being constructed on the Swat River in Mohmand District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which will be completed in 2026. On completion, the dam will store about 1.2 million acre feet (MAF) of water and help mitigate floods in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera. Besides supplementing 160,000 acres of existing land, about 18,237 acres of new land will also be irrigated. The Mohmand Dam Power House will generate 800 megawatts (MW) of hydel electricity, contributing 2.86 billion units of low-cost and environment-friendly hydel electricity annually to the national grid. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs 51.6 billion.