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Punjab faces energy discrimination: Shahbaz

Demanding an end to unannounced power loadshedding, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday said his province is facing discrimination over the issue.

He was addressing two-day second National Energy Conference presided over by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to find out ways to resolve the power shortage issue. He said he does not want to indulge into blame game but the entire country including Punjab was suffering from the energy crisis.

The CM said the sacrifices made by Punjab for the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award have been ‘rewarded’ in shape of punishment in the form of energy crisis. The economy has been destroyed due to the energy crisis, he said, adding that industries have suffered losses due to which investors were left with no option but to transfer their investments abroad.

The PML-N leader suggested that sugarcane bagasse can be used to produce up to 2000 MW of electricity. “Being the chief executive of Punjab it is my duty to inform the Centre of problems being faced by the people of the province,” he said. He said Pakistan was facing power crisis and people in Punjab had come to roads in protest against the closure of industry due to unjust loadshedding.

He said the energy conference would be of no benefit if its recommendations were not implemented, adding that decision on supplying gas to power plants had not been implemented. He was of the opinion that coal should be imported for power generation, adding that gas supply should be increased for industry.

Later, CM Punjab said that prevailing power crisis has hit trade and industries in Punjab, and extended the provincial government’s support to Centre and Sindh in Thar coal energy project. Shahbaz Sharif emphasized the need of utilizing all available resources for producing energy realizing ‘gravity’ of the issue.

“Pakistan is full of natural resources but dictators have harmed the country in past. We must undo their steps,” he said. He urged the federal government to take steps to convince wealthy countries of the world, including China and Korea, to invest in Pakistan’s power sector.

“China and Korea can help us meet our energy demands. Immediate steps are needed to be taken to steer the country out of electricity crisis.

We should not wait and waste the time.” According to government, the conference is aimed at finding sustainable remedy with the help of stakeholders and technocrats.

The moot was attended by stake-holders from all provinces including Gilgit- Baltistan (GB) and Azad Kashmir and chief ministers.

Representatives from all federal and provincial organizations related to the energy sector also joined the conference.

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