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Punjab creates new vacancy to accelerate energy projects

A new vacancy of Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Energy department has been created to accelerate the energy projects and Punjab finance secretary has been given additional charge of this office till the posting of a regular officer.

For the first time in the history of Punjab, two Additional Chief Secretaries would hold offices for different jobs. Sources in the S&GAD said that the creation of new top office for energy purposes showed government’s seriousness toward the most pressing issue. The government has already fixed approx 20.5 billion rupees for the energy sector, besides inviting foreign investors in this sector.

An officer of the energy department said that creation of the new slot aims at speeding up energy projects and energy efficiency investment processes in the province by removing technical, administrative and financial barriers that are causing delays. The official told that Punjab and Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) agreed to enhance cooperation in energy sector and the Bank would set up solar energy projects under public-private partnership in Punjab.

The first project of solar energy will be completed within a year whereas Asian Development Bank would complete 2,000 MW solar energy projects within two years in the province. ADB would also extend cooperation in coal, biomass, biogas and hydro energy projects, the officer held.

The establishment of a separate energy secretariat would help resolve energy crisis, the officer said. Holding of energy investment conferences, foreign visits of the CM for it, constitution of technical sub-committees on solar, coal and hydel projects, biomass, biogas and bagasse sub-committee and finance sub-committee for provincial energy commission were the steps taken earlier in this regard, he added.

The installation of biogas tube-wells for farmer community, conversion of city traffic signals on solar panels and off-grid practicable energy projects will also be sped up, he maintained. The government had taken these steps for ensuring investment in energy projects, provision of facilities to the investors and rapid implementation of the projects, he added.

The official said the new ACS Energy would accelerate the work on the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Project in Cholistan and that the provision of quality facilities would be ensured in solar park. He said now work could immediately be started for the infrastructure development in the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park.

He said Punjab government’s dream to establish a hosiery city in the metropolis in wake of China’s exclusion from the industry would also be materialised soon.

Referring to the crackdown on gas and electricity thieves, the officer said that the elements involved in such corrupt practices would be extended no leniency.

He said the taskforce set up for it had detected gas and power theft of millions of rupees and the criminals would be penalised for their wrong doings. He said action would also be taken against the government officials involved in this heinous crime.

The official said that these steps of the government would also revive agriculture and lead to increase in agri exports and add to the foreign exchange when energy crisis would be resolved.

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