LAHORE – Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Punjab government has chalked out a plan to provide solar panels to the poor families and biogas units to the small farmers to operate their tubewells and this programme will be initiated from South Punjab. The solar panel will operate one fan and two electric bulbs.

The chief minister said this while presiding over a meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan Tent Office on Thursday to review pace of development of energy related projects in the province.

Shahbaz Sharif said that planning had been made to install coal energy plants through public-private partnership in industrial estates throughout the province. He said that present energy crisis had negatively impacted all sectors of life and had deprived citizens of their sleep and peace.

The chief minister said that provision of solar panels to the poor families would be made through transparent balloting, and similar method would also be adopted for biogas units distribution among the small farmers. He directed that methodology of distribution of solar panels and biogas units should be evolved so that the programme could be implemented without any delay. He said that quota of South Punjab with regard to provision of biogas units to small farmers would be ten per cent higher and, initially, one thousand biogas units would be distributed.

Shahbaz Sharif said that a strategy had also been evolved to set up of energy generating projects, through coal, in industrial estates throughout the province, while projects of 50 MW would be installed in industrial estates with public-private partnership.

Senator Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Provincial Minister for Agriculture Ahmad Ali Aulakh, member assemblies, officers concerned, energy experts and investors attended the meeting.

Also, Shahbaz Sharif said that self reliance at the national level could be achieved by increasing agricultural production.

He said Punjab government through an effective strategy was creating awareness among the farmers about the use of modern technology. Star Farm Pakistan had been introduced in the province for increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing commercial capability, he said adding, a special fund of Rs2 billion had been setup for modernisation of agriculture sector.

He said this while presiding over a meeting held at Minar-e-Pakistan Tent Office on Thursday which reviewed in detail the pace of implementation on Star Farming Project and promotion of agricultural products.

The chief minister said that agriculture and livestock were two important sectors, and promotion of these could help the country in eradication of poverty and unemployment. National economy could be further strengthened by promoting agri-based industries, he added.

He hoped that, with the improvement of supply chain management and cooperation with Star Farm Network, the exports of agriculture and livestock products would be increased to a considerable level.

Shahbaz Sharif suggested that the Star Farm Company should also perform the role of facilitator for export of agricultural goods. He directed early finalisation of the process of selecting agricultural associated supplier companies, for which only such companies be selected, which have better coordination at the international market.