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Shahbaz for private power projects

CHIEF Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the energy crisis has badly affected industry, agriculture, trade and export sectors.

He said there was a need to control energy problem for reviving national economy and the PML-N government was making efforts for this purpose.

He was talking to a delegation of industrialists, bankers and investors, led by Nishat Group Chairman Mian Muhammad Mansha, at Model Town on Sunday.

Shahbaz said power generation projects would be completed expeditiously under the public-private partnership. He said the private sector played an important role in the progress and development of a country, therefore, it should come forward for controlling energy crisis in Pakistan and set up projects of power generation through coal, biomass and other resources. He offered all-out cooperation of the government to the private sector in this regard.

The CM said that the federal government, provinces and private sector would have to work together for resolving the energy crisis and power generation projects would have to be completed quickly and in a transparent manner. He said that besides small projects, industrialists should also consider launching energy projects of 1,000 megawatts as big projects were more beneficial. He said power generation projects of biomass and biogas would benefit the farmers as well.

The chief minister said that energy crisis had left a bad impact on every sector and he believed that the masses had given a historic mandate to the PML-N for eliminating loadshedding. He said the PML-N government was making serious efforts from the day one for controlling loadshedding.

He appreciated the offer of cooperation of industrialists, bankers and investors in the endeavors of the government to overcome the energy shortage.

The members of delegation said that they were ready to launch five power generation projects of 50 to 100 megawatts as well as major projects of generation of energy from coal and other sources. The delegation assured that it would also motivate foreign investors to invest in power generation sector in Pakistan.

Mian Muhammad Mansha said that there was a vast scope of generation of power from biogas and biomass and the projects of power generation through these sources could soon be launched.

Provincial Minister for Local Government and Law Rana Sanaullah Khan, Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, the chief secretary, secretaries of Finance, Law and Energy departments and others were also present.

Agriculture: Shahbaz Sharif has said that agriculture, livestock and dairy farming sectors are the backbone of national economy and majority of population is associated with them.

He said that unfortunately, effective measures had not been taken during the last 65 years for the development of the sectors due to which Pakistan was lagging far behind the neighboring countries in these sectors. He said the Punjab government was taking solid measures for the provision of maximum facilities to small cultivators.

Shahbaz was presiding over a high-level meeting on promotion of agriculture and increasing per acre yield at Model Town here on Sunday.

He said the per acre agri production could be increased by utilizing modern technology. He said the Punjab government would bring about a revolution in agriculture sector and with the help of experts of private sector, the dream of promotion of the sector would be realized. He said problems of poverty and unemployment could also be resolved by development of agriculture, livestock and dairy farming sectors. He said the nefarious trade of spurious agri medicines and fertilizers would not be tolerated and stern action would be taken against the elements involved in it. He said a vigorous campaign against those dealing in spurious agri medicines and fertilizers would soon be launched.

The chief minister said the ministers and provincial secretaries of agriculture, irrigation and livestock departments should formulate solid and comprehensive recommendations with the consultation of experts of private sector within two weeks for the uplift of the sectors. He said that steps should also be taken for the capacity-building of agri research institutes and the results of modern agri research in increasing per acre yield of agri items should reach the farmers.

The CM also underscored the importance of modern vegetable markets and enhancing storage capacity of agri items for the benefit of cultivators. He said that targets of agri development be fixed and all energies should be utilized for their achievement. He said there was a dire need to increase production of rice, wheat, cotton and fruits as more revenue could be earned through increasing agri production. He said there was a need for effective policies for agri development and meeting other challenges therefore, those associated with agriculture, irrigation and livestock sectors should sit together and formulate policies for this purpose without wasting any time.

Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan had fertile land, brilliant brains, water resources and sturdy farmers and a revolution could be brought about in agriculture sector through hard work, commitment and determination. He said effective measures should be adopted for the development of agri-based industry.

Pakistan had only a negligible share in the livestock trade of six hundred billion dollars in the world, he said, adding that the PML-N government during its last tenure had set up a modern slaughterhouse in the provincial metropolis and it was necessary to build more such slaughterhouses.

Javed Salim Qureshi of the Four Brothers Group of Pakistan in his briefing stressed the need for controlling losses in different stages of cultivation of crops. He said the agriculture sector was in the grip of middleman system which resulted in exploitation of small farmers. He gave the idea of Tamac Marakaz for the development of agriculture which the participants of the meeting highly appreciated.

Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr. Farrukh Javed, Special Assistant Ch. Arshad Jutt, Members Assembly Rao Kashif Rahim, Hussain Jehanian Gardezi, the chief secretary, secretaries of Local Government, Finance, Law and Energy Departments, agri experts and officers concerned attended the meeting.

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