LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday directed the Agriculture Department to set up cluster centers for increasing production of vegetables and pulses and also for taking steps to enhance the scope of kitchen gardening to the rural areas.

The CM has also required the department to outsource the programme of cultivation of vegetables in nurseries and complete the process of identifying land for cultivation of vegetables in the border areas of Lahore without wasting any time.

While presiding over a high level meeting on improving the system of demand and supply to achieve stability in the prices of essential commodities, the CM, while addressing the officials, said that he wanted results and would personally monitor the performance of the concerned departments on monthly basis. He ordered the departments concerned to pursue stern action against the elements involved in adulteration of food items. He directed for framing a comprehensive plan to keep prices of vegetables, pulses, meat, chicken, beef, milk, eggs and other essential items within the reach of the common man.

The CM said that Punjab is the green basket of Pakistan and has a key importance in meeting agri requirements of the country. Therefore, concerned departments should play an active role for increasing production of essential items as well as stabilizing their prices.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Turkish company dealing in energy and mining sector ‘CINER Group’ called on Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif here on Thursday. Provincial Minister for Minerals Sher Ali Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Energy, Secretary Minerals, Vice Chairman Punjab Investment Board, Executive Chairman CINER Group Nadim Sener and other office-bearers were also present on the occasion. Matters relating to promotion of cooperation and launching of joint ventures in energy and mining sectors were discussed in the meeting.

Talking to the delegation of Turkish group, Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that Turkey has special expertise in mining and Punjab government wants to benefit from the experience of Turkey in mining sector so that mineral reserves could be utilized in Punjab. He said that Punjab is rich in mineral wealth and vast reserves of coal exist in Salt Range and other places through which energy can be generated.

The Chief Minister said that Turk group can cooperate with Punjab govt in utilizing mineral resources properly. He said that CINER Group has also expertise in energy generation projects and Punjab government and Turk groups can launch joint ventures in mining and energy sectors. He said that officials of Punjab government should sit together with Turk group and formulate recommendations about viable projects in mining and energy sectors.

Talking on the occasion, Nadim Sener said that his group wants to extend cooperation to Punjab government in mining and energy sectors. He disclosed that his delegation has visited salt range and other places. He was of the view that vast opportunities of setting up small power plants with coal exist in Salt Range and other places and CINER Group will formulate practicable plan of cooperation in mining and energy sectors with consultation.