LAHORE - Punjab Energy Council on Tuesday gave approval to setting up of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park at Lal Sohanra and Din Garh in Bahawalpur district of southern Punjab. In the first phase, construction of solar park at Lal Sohanra, over 11,000 acres of land, would be started immediately and residential colony, park, dispensary, school, mosque and other basic amenities would be provided. The target of producing energy at Lal Sohanra Park has been fixed at the start of next year. 
Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting of the Council which was also attended by Provincial Ministers Ch Sher Ali Khan, Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Ch. Muhammad Shafique, Dr. Farrukh Javed, and other relevant functionaries and officials.
In his address on the occasion, Chief Minister expressed resolve of the government to overcome energy crisis keeping solution to this problem at top of agenda. He said that Punjab government will take a lead in the completion of projects of generation of solar energy. He said that achievement of the target of production of solar energy at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park from the beginning of next year will be ensured. He said that in the first phase, projects of generation of 1000 megawatt solar energy will be set up at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur area. He said that demarcation has been completed for establishment of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park at Lal Sohanra Park and Cholistan and all out resources will be provided for the completion of these energy projects.
The Chief Minister directed that work should be undertaken on emergent basis on 100 megawatt solar energy project and production of electricity should start from the beginning of next year at any cost. He also directed that projects of generation of 400 megawatt power should be completed within six months and complete design of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park and residential colony be submitted in the next meeting.
He directed that the Bank of Punjab should present financial model of the energy projects. He said that Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Company has been fully authorized to complete Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project expeditiously.
He directed concerned departments that in the first phase all necessary measures should be taken for completion of energy projects while the process of international bidding should be started immediately. He also directed that besides ensuring standard, weather conditions should also be kept in view in the provision of infrastructure at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park.
Commissioner Bahawalpur, Secretary Communication & Works, Secretary Irrigation, Secretary Energy as well as President Bank of Punjab gave a briefing on the project while the meeting also gave approval to the project of supply of water to the park from the canal.
Meanwhile, Country Director of World Bank Rachid Benmessaoud met Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday. During the meeting, both exchange views on promoting cooperation in energy projects especially hydro power projects.
The Chief Minister said that Pakistan is facing serious energy crisis which has left a negative impact on economy. He said that government is implementing a comprehensive economic agenda for the stability of economy and measures are being taken on emergent basis for minimizing the gap between supply and demand of electricity. The Chief Minister welcomed the cooperation of World Bank in hydro projects especially construction of Dasu Dam. He said that World Bank should also consider cooperation in the construction of Diamir Basha Dam.
Rachid Benmessaoud said that the agenda of economic reforms in Pakistan has revived the confidence of international institutions and micro economic situation will improve due to economic policies of the government. He said that Pakistan is rich in resources however there is a need of their proper utilization. He said that World Bank will continue to cooperate with Pakistan in energy and other sectors.