LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over a high level meeting on Sunday which was also attended by Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq.

The meeting reviewed various projects in energy sector especially coal power plants in Sahiwal and it was agreed to make speedy progress on this project.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that serious efforts were being made for resolving energy problem. He said that work was in progress expeditiously on coal power plants in Sahiwal with the cooperation of China and the project would be completed in 2017. He said that government was also working on power generation projects based on renewable sources.

He said that during the recent visit to China, it was agreed to accelerate work on ongoing energy projects as well as new projects. He said that the Punjab government had completed a 100 megawatt solar project, which is the first and the biggest project of its kind in the country, with its own resources and it will soon be inaugurated. Shahbaz Sharif further said that federal and provincial governments have also decided to establish gas-based power projects of 3600 megawatt in the province.

“The Punjab government will set up a 1200 megawatt power generation project while the federal government will establish 2400 megawatt energy projects which will be operated with gas. Government is sparing no effort for overcoming energy crisis and several projects of power generation will be operational till the end of 2017,” the CM added.

The chief minister said that people of Pakistan were waiting for the visit of Chinese President during which foundation stone of a number of projects would be laid. He said that darkness would be removed from the country with the cooperation of China. He said that a system is being evolved for the supply of coal to Sahiwal coal power plants from Karachi Port.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the concerned departments should take necessary measures speedily for the supply of coal to the power plants.

Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq said that Ministry of Railways will extend all out cooperation for the supply of coal. Additional Chief Secretary Energy gave a detailed briefing on Sahiwal coal power projects.

Chief Secretary Punjab, Federal Secretary/ Chairperson Railways, officials of the company working on Sahiwal Coal Power Project, Senior Member Board of Revenue, Additional Chief Secretary Energy, General Manager Railways, NEPRA, NTDC and senior officials of Port Qasim as well as concerned officers attended the meeting.

DFID HEAD MEETS SHAHBAZ: The new head of British Department for International Development (DFID) in Punjab Ben French called on Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and discussed cooperation between Punjab government and DFID in education, health, skill development and other sectors.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that Punjab government had promoted a corruption-free culture in the province and standard, transparency and speed have been ensured in the execution of development projects. He said that cooperation between Punjab government and DFID in education, health and skill development sectors is continuing successfully while School Reforms Roadmap programme is also moving forward speedily.

The Chief Minister also appreciated cooperation of DFID in Health Sector Reforms Roadmap. He said that the scope of Skill Development Programme started in four districts of south Punjab with the cooperation of DFID is being expanded to the whole province. He said that skilled manpower is also being developed under Skill Development Programme to meet the market needs. He said that youth are being imparted various skills through Punjab Skill Development Fund. Shahbaz Sharif welcomed the new head of DFID in Punjab. Ben French while speaking on the occasion said that cooperation between Punjab government and DFID will be further promoted.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the death of MA Sheda, renowned intellectual, columnist and a senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League.

In a condolence message, the chief minister prayed that may Allah Almighty rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and strength to the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude.