LAHORE - While announcing two holidays a week to conserve energy, the Punjab cabinet on Tuesday demanded the federal government call an immediate meeting of the Council of Common Interests to discuss equal load shedding in all the provinces and other issues.

The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Najam Sethi, while expressing serious concern over the long-hour power outages in the Punjab, also called for ending the same without any delay.

The cabinet decided to observe two holidays (on Saturdays and Sundays) as a measure to save energy and mitigate sufferings at industrial and domestic level in the province. While calling for the CCI meeting, the Punjab cabinet also demanded the federal government reduce load shedding hours in the province on urgent basis.

The cabinet meeting pressed the need to take an urgent action to address the power shortage in the country, which had assumed an alarming situation in the Punjab. The cabinet also warned of strict action if anyone tried to create disturbance or break the law on the pretext of load shedding. “No one will be allowed to violate the law or block roads on the pretext of protest,” the chief minister said, addressing the meeting. He added public property was an asset to the nation and it should not be damaged.

The chief minister told the cabinet that he would soon meet the caretaker prime minister to discuss the issue of load shedding in the Punjab and supply of due share of electricity to the province. The chief minister said a team would accompany him for the meeting with the prime minister so that useful suggestions could be presented to overcome the energy crisis. He further said the Punjab government would adopt solid measures to converse energy and, as an immediate measure, two weekly offs had been approved by the cabinet.

Besides the provincial ministers, the meeting was attended by the chief secretary, the inspector general of police, the home secretary, the finance secretary and others officers of various departments.