LAHORE, Nov 28 (APP): Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif presided over a special meeting of provincial cabinet, here on Monday.
Provincial Ministers, Advisors, Special Assistants, Chief Secretary, senior officials as well as new members of the provincial cabinet were present.
The Chief Minister congratulated the new Ministers, Advisors and Special Assistants and said, “Their induction in the cabinet is the result of their abilities and hard work.”
He said the Punjab government had set new records of public service and the people of the province expected from them that they would spare no effort in the service of the people.
The Chief Minister stressed upon the new ministers to leave no stone unturned in the service of the masses as it would win them blessings of Allah Almighty and prayers of crores of people.
He said their new assignment demanded from them commitment
to the betterment of the masses and solution of their problems. He said the new members of the cabinet should utilize all their energies in the service of the people. He said though cabinet should have been expanded along ago but there were some reasons for delay.
He said besides sit-ins and protest politics, there were innumerable issues due to which cabinet was not expanded. He said there were still one and a half year left of the tenure of the present government and there was a need to work round the clock for the uplift of education, health, agriculture, industries and other sectors.
Shehbaz Sharif expressed the hope that the new ministers would work as a team and engage themselves in public service.
He said all problems could be resolved if determined efforts were made.
He said the oath taken by the new Ministers today demanded they would set aside their personal interests, likes and dislikes and give preference to the interests of the country and the people.
He said the new ministers should spend minimum time in Lahore and live with the people and resolve their problems as it would earn them respect and honour.
Referring to the steps taken for the welfare and betterment of the people during last three and a half years, the Chief Minister said under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Muslim League-N government had brought improvement in every sector.
He said Prime Minister had promised to the people in general elections of 2013 that all out measures would be taken for resolving energy crisis and elimination of terrorism and the performance of the government in that regard remained unprecedented.
He said political and military leadership worked very hard to root out the menace of terrorism and the results were before the nation. He said due to unanimous decisions taken by the political and military leadership, tremendous successes had been achieved in the war against terrorism and a new history had been written with regard to Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Shehbaz Sharif said brave armed forces of Pakistan had rendered supreme sacrifices in the war against terrorism and officers and Jawans of police, citizens, children, mothers as well as members of all segments of the society had also embraced martyrdom.
He said a new history of sacrifices had been written and it was due to this that incidents of terrorism had reduced substantially. He said, the way political and military leadership had taken decisions, the day was not far when the menace of terrorism would be completely rooted out.
Referring to the measures taken by the present government for
controlling power crisis, Shehbaz Sharif said in the tenure of former federal government, economy of Punjab was destroyed through curtailing supply of electricity leading to the hampering of development
projects. He said Balochistan and Sindh had gas reserves whereas gas had also been found in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.
He said, “Though Punjab did not have gas but it has been blessed by Allah Almighty with other resources.” He said Punjab had fertile lands and its agriculture sector had great potential.
He said 400 megawatt solar power project in Bahawalpur was generating electricity. He said the Punjab government had set up a 100 megawatt solar power project in the desert of Bahawalpur with its own resources.
He said when this project was set up, the NEPRA tariff was 17.1 cent but when this project was completed by the provincial government with hard work and transparency, NEPRA brought down tariff rate to 14 cent.
He said due to the efforts and transparency of the Punjab government, NEPRA had to revise its tariff rate to the benefit of power consumers and now NEPRA had fixed tariff rate at 10.50 cent and it was hoped that with the completion of the projects, NEPRA would bring down tariff rate to six or seven cents.
Shehbaz Sharif said the performance of NEPRA was zero and it was also covering up cases of corruption.
Commenting on gas power projects of 3600 megawatts in Punjab, he said under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, tremendous work was being carried out on these projects.
He said NEPRA had given tariff rate of 10.50 cent for these projects and when the financial closure of these projects was made, NEPRA was compelled to lower the tariff rate to 6.50 cent. He said despite delaying tactics of NEPRA, the speed of work on these projects was unprecedented.
He said a huge sum of Rs. 112 billion of the nation had been saved in these projects and credit for this went to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the efforts and transparency of the provincial government due to which NEPRA had to bring down tariff rate.
He said NEPRA should account for its performance to the nation.
He said NEPRA had caused more damage to power sector than anyone else.
The Chief Minister said among gas power projects, the trial of turbine of Bhiki project would start in December 2016 and this project would start single phase power supply from February/March 2017.
He said this project would supply 750 megawatt electricity from April/May, 2017. Similarly, he said, gas power project at Haveli Bahadar Shah Jhang would supply 750 megawatts power from June/July whereas gas power project at Baloki would start generating 750 megawatts electricity from August/September. As such these three projects would produce 3600 megawatts electricity by December 2017, he added.
The Chief Minister said the speed of work on these projects was unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. He said work was in progress on Neelam-Jhelum hydro power project from 2005 in the tenure of former dictator Musharraf and at that time the cost of this project was low but now after 11 years this project was still crawling and its cost had risen to 4.5 billion dollars.
He said this project was still incomplete despite passage of 11 years. Similarly, he said, a minister in PPP tenure buried the file of Nandipur power project in his drawer and the equipment of this project become rusty at Karachi Port.
He said the letter of credit of these gas projects was opened in September 2015 and these projects would be operational next year which would be unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. He said 1320 megawatt Sahiwal coal power project which was to be completed in 2017 would be completed in May/June 2017 much before stipulated period. Similarly, he said, 1320 megawatt coal power project at Port Qasim would also start power production in 2017.
He said projects were delayed in the past for corruption and misappropriation of billions of rupees but the present government was ensuring transparency due to which projects were being completed speedily besides saving of billions of rupees had also been made.
He said the Punjab government, cabinet committee on law and order, Provincial Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah, Chief Secretary, Inspector General Police, Secretary Home, Commissioners, RPOs, DCOs and DPOs worked round the clock to safeguard the interests of the country.
The Chief Minister stressed upon the ministers to work round the clock for the progress and prosperity of the masses and make honesty, hard work and commitment their motto. He assured them all out support in this regard.
He said he would review performance of departments on regular basis and would encourage those who would work hard.
He said they would have complete powers and the concerned secretaries would be duty bound to implement their policies. He said the new ministers would have to promote merit and show their best performance.
The meeting also offered Fateha for the departed soul of the father of Provincial Minister Haroon Sultan Bukhari as well as prayed for progress and prosperity of the country.