LAHORE – Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that in order to achieve the target of progress and prosperity and rank Pakistan among the developed nations, the national resources must be used on ending the energy crisis as well as on developing alternative means of power of generation. “Like terrorism, energy crisis is also a big challenge. Energy problem can be resolved through adopting a collective thinking and displaying courage and determination, ” the chief minister said while addressing inaugural ceremony of Centre for Energy Research and Development at Kala Shah Kaku Campus of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) on Saturday.He said that despite the lapse of 65 years, no serious efforts have been made for resolving shortage of energy. Laying stress on the need for immediately starting work on alternative sources of generation of power, the CM said it was unfortunate that the rulers in Islamabad wasted five years but failed to overcome the energy crisis. About the construction of disputed Kalabagh Dam, he said a consensus of all provinces must be evolved for this purpose as the issue has become a political one. However he said, the projects which are economical and feasible can be implemented immediately. He said that Bhasha and other dams are long term projects but side by side immediate attention should also be paid to find out short and medium term solutions to energy problems. He said that there is also need to promote public awareness regarding energy conservation. He said that Pakistan is blessed with natural resources and energy can also be generated through biogas and the husk of rice. He said that solar energy is also very important and there are vast opportunities of power generation with solar energy in Cholistan and other districts of south Punjab. He said that it is unfortunate that Punjab government had to import solar channels from China for its Ujala programme as no company produces solar penal in Pakistan. The CM said a huge sum of Rs 60 billion was spent for installation of power plants at Nandipur and Chichoki Mallian which could produce 950 mega watt electricity but inefficiency of rulers in Islamabad has rendered these plants rusty as they continued to lie at Karachi Port while the Chinese engineers have also gone back in disappointment. He said it is unfortunate that circular debts of electricity have surpassed Rs 500 billion, which also include Rs200 billion accrued from power theft, line losses, corruption and inefficiency. He said influential people do not pay for electricity and he called for adopting coercive methods for recovery from them for which, he added, political courage and determination is required. He said that the rulers in Islamabad have been dragging feet over the energy crisis. He said that billions of rupees have been lost in rental power projects which have also been declared illegal by judiciary. He said that these were the fraud projects of the federal government. He said that 2500 mega watt power could be produced if the biogases of 74 sugar mills have been used by the federal government. He said that federal government has pushed the country into darkness due to its corruption and inefficiency and billions of rupees are being spent on the import bill of diesel. He said that Punjab government is doing its best to eliminate darkness while federal government is doing the opposite. He said if voted to power again, they will set up an energy research and development fund in their next term. He said that youth should pay special attention to technology and research. He said that Punjab government has provided Rs 30 crore to the Center for Energy Research and Development at Kala Shah Kaku Campus of Engineering University which will play an important role in meeting energy requirements of Punjab as well as Pakistan besides generation of power from alternative resources. The chief minister announced a prize of two crore rupees for the team preparing economically feasible energy model and said that experts and students developing a practicable energy model will be encouraged and given cash prizes. UET VC Muhammad Akram and Energy Secretary also addressed the ceremony. Earlier, the chief minister inaugurated the centre.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 10-Feb-2013 here.