LAHORE - At the maiden meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI), Punjab is expected to demand more supply of electricity and gas to its industrial sector.

Sources in the official circles say that power shortage and related issues being faced by the provinces are once again going to hold the central stage at today’s CCI meeting in Islamabad to be chaired by the prime minister and participated by all the four chief ministers and ministers of the relevant federal ministries.

After installation of the PML-N government in the centre and Punjab, the electricity supply to the latter has been improved, but even then a huge area of the province is still facing up to 18 hours loadshedding while the gas supply too is far short of the demand.

This has badly affected the industrial sector of the most populous province of the country and the Punjab is likely to plead at the CCI for meeting this sector’s energy demand till the provincial government completes a short term power project it has launched. The other provinces particularly, Khyber PK, are displeased with the centre for having short supply of electricity.

Sources say Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would argue to convince the participants that his province was still receiving less electricity and gas than the share decided during the last government. He would also brief the meeting on the project initiated by his government to overcome the energy crisis and take the participants into confidence.

Sources say the Punjab would also give input on the Khyber PK offer to produce 25,000MW electricity from hydel sources and would offer cooperation in this regard. The Punjab CM would inform the meeting about the agreement with Chinese company to resume work on Nandipur as well as the pact concluded with several other companies for generation of electricity from hydel, solar, coal, biomass and biogas.

Besides, the Punjab would inform the meeting of the crackdown on power and gas pilferers and may suggest for launching similar operations in other provinces as well for improving recovery of electricity and gas dues and controlling the line losses.

Sources say the Punjab would also take up the matter of availability of water for the Kharif crops as during the last season, the growers in this province kept crying over lack of irrigation water, especially at the tail ends. The matter of wheat supply from Punjab to other provinces, particularly KKP, may also come up. The Punjab would give its input on the means to improve the law and order situation.

Sources further say that meeting would be briefed on the prime minister’s recent visit to China, ongoing talks for peace in the region, main features of the foreign policy, security issues and recent visit of PM Adviser on Foreign and National Security Affairs Sartaj Aziz to Afghanistan.