News Column

Shahbaz assured of World Bank cooperation

May 18, 2014

Our Staff Reporter

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that the PML-N government is taking steps to rid the country of energy crisis at the earliest and work on different projects is continuing in this regard. He said that the construction work on Dasu Dam is going to start soon which will be built at a cost of more than four billion dollars. He welcomed the assurance of World Bank for extending cooperation in construction of Dasu Dam.

He expressed these views while talking to Country Director of World Bank in Pakistan, Rashid Bin Masood who met him at Model Town. It was agreed in the meeting to further promote World Bank’s cooperation in ongoing development projects in various social sectors including energy. Water resources expert of World Bank Masood Ahmad was also present on the occasion.Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that World Bank’s cooperation in energy, education, health, agriculture, irrigation and other social sectors is a good omen.

He said that transparency, merit and good governance have been promoted in Punjab. He said that the programmes of providing relief and best services to the people are continuing successfully. The Chief Minister said that the resources saved under austerity policy are also being spent on public welfare.

He said that all necessary resources have been provided for early completion of energy projects. Shahbaz Sharif said that work on first solar project of Pakistan is continuing speedily in Bahawalpur and this project will be completed before stipulated period.

He said that 100 megawatt electricity will be generated by December 2014 in the first phase while a total of 1000mw electricity will be produced during one and a half years to two years through solar power projects. The Chief Minister said that Nandipur Power Project has been revived with a new spirit and round the clock work and expressed the hope that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will inaugurate this project during current month.

He said that Punjab Government has made planning to start small hydle projects at various places and a comprehensive mechanism will be evolved with the cooperation of World Bank for launching small hydle projects in Punjab.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the projects of national importance like Dasu Dam should have been started in the country many years ago but previous rulers paid no attention to it. He said that the cooperation of World Bank regarding construction of big dams for overcoming energy crisis is commendable.

Rashid Bin Masood said that World Bank would continue cooperation in energy, small hydle projects, agriculture, irrigation and education sectors. He said that the pace of work on the ongoing programmes in agriculture and irrigation sectors is highly satisfactory.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that agriculture is the backbone of national economy and it has also a major share in GDP. He said that promotion of modern agri technology is of paramount importance in increasing per acre production for meeting the food requirements of increasing population. He said that promotion of agri research and provision of its benefits to the farmers are very essential. A comprehensive plan should be evolved for the promotion of agri research and all necessary resources would be provided for this purpose, he added. He said that there is great potential in agriculture sector and national economy can be strengthened by promoting agriculture.

The Chief Minister constituted four different committees for promoting agriculture and enhancing per acre yield which will present their recommendations soon.

He was presiding over a high level meeting with regard to promotion of agriculture, here on Saturday. Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr. Farrukh Javed, Irrigation Minister Yawar Zaman, Forests Minister Muhammad Asif, Advisor on Livestock Arshad Jatt, Members Provincial Assembly, concerned secretaries and agri experts attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that there is a need to move forward by setting priorities for the promotion of agriculture. He said that extension sector will have to be fully mobilized and activated for providing guidance to the farmers. While constituting a committee headed by MPA Hussain Jehanian Gardazi, the Chief Minister directed that the committee should present comprehensive recommendations within two weeks for capacity building of extension workers and transforming extension sector into a vibrant institute. Constituting a committee headed by a cultivator Abid Malhi for the purchase of agri machinery and equipments, their use and maintenance, the Chief Minister said that the committee will consider all matters regarding agri machinery.

The committee headed by Federal Minister for Agriculture and Food will look after import, manufacturing and balanced use of fertilizers. The Chief Minister constituted another committee headed by Chief Secretary which will look after the matters of farms land. He said that there is substantial fuel in the shape of biomass in Punjab which can be used for generating electricity. He said that small projects can be set up for generating electricity through biomass.

Expressing indignation over slow implementation of a programme of generating electricity through biomass, Shahbaz Sharif said that practical steps should be taken speedily instead of wasting time on summaries for this purpose. He said that an effective strategy should be adopted regarding land development for agri purposes and services of experts be acquired for this purpose. He said that spurious agri medicines are a poison for the crops and his government had eliminated the business of fake agri pesticides in 1998.

The Chief Minister said that full attention should be paid to the checking of fake agri medicines business and strict action should be taken against the elements involved in this trade. He said that an autonomous Farms Commission should be constituted on the pattern of sugarcane. He said that Irrigation Reforms Programme continuing at a cost of Rs. 36 billion with the collaboration of World Bank is yielding positive results, however, there is a need of taking effective steps for preserving existing water resources for agriculture purposes.

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Source: Nation (Pakistan)

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