SOME of the decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday were overdue like water conservation and increase in power production, which are among the foremost needs of the country. Work on the Bhasha Dam would begin next year and the project to generate power from Thar coal has finally been okayed. One hopes that these projects would be completed speedily. While the Minister for Power has promised that the ongoing loadshedding would be halved by next year, the country stands in need of a considerable annual increase in power generation to meet its growing demand. Equally important is the construction of reservoirs to store floodwater to be released during the dry seasons. The Cabinet also discussed the proposal to control the smuggling of wheat through a price mechanism. While pegging the prices of a commodity to regional rates might end smuggling, it may not be a sound policy in the case of wheat, which constitutes the staple food of the tens of millions of people in the country. As the poorer sections of population rely on wheat as sometimes the sole source of calories, its price has to remain within affordable limits. All necessary measures to increase its production must be adopted to not only enable Pakistan to fulfill its domestic requirements but also export wheat and rice, whose prices in the world market are constantly on the rise, to improve its balance of trade. To achieve this objective the government has to ensure the timely availability of inputs like irrigation water, fertilizer, insecticides and certified seeds to the farmer. The official purchase price of wheat must be announced well ahead of the sowing season. Despite its claims, the government has yet to ensure the availability of flour in the market. Similarly, the prices of other consumer items, including sugar and pulses, have to be brought down to the level the common man can afford. The government must take the challenges which it faces seriously. Briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Information Minister Sherry Rahman said there were neither external nor internal threats to the country. This amounted to hiding one's head in the sand like an ostrich. Attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas continue to take place. The issue of Balochistan remains unaddressed. The lawyers continue to boycott courts and hold protests. Other sections of society are raising their voice against the hardships they face. There is a need to bring the PML(N) back to the Federal Cabinet to enable the coalition to confront these challenges through joint efforts. For this the differences between the PPP and PML(N) have to be urgently resolved.