LAHORE - Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht on Friday said that research, knowledge and acquisition of technology should be given top priority. Chairing the meeting of the Cabinet Committee constituted by Chief Minister on CPEC projects in Punjab, he observed that Chinese experience in industry, agriculture and advanced technology could ensure an increase in production. The meeting was attended by Provincial Minister for Industry and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal, Provincial Minister for Energy Dr Akhtar Malik, Provincial Minister for Transport Jahanzeb Khan Kichhi, Chairman Planning and Development Board Sheikh Hamid Yaqoob, Chief Economist Nabil Tahir and secretaries of relevant departments. The purpose of the meeting was to review the progress of ongoing projects under CPEC projects in Punjab and finalize the newly proposed projects for the CPEC. The Punjab Finance Minister said the Energy Department should focus on meeting the energy needs of the province.  The main function of the department should be supplying electricity to industrial zones, educational institutions, hospitals etc. at reasonable rates, he said and added that formation of a suitable platform with the federation for resolving tariff-related issues was a matter of urgency.

The Minister instructed giving representation to the public health engineering in the CPEC project. 

All departments should highlight the usefulness of the proposed schemes for CPEC, he said and added it should be made clear to the development partners what kind of assistance the Punjab government needed from them so that the projects could be continued uninterruptedly in the future.

On behalf of the Chairman Planning and Board, Chief Economist Nabil Tahir briefed the meeting on the aims and objectives of the Cabinet Committee on CPEC Projects and said the committee had a strategy for planning, implementing and monitoring of CPEC projects. 

In addition, it would oversee all relevant activities for CPEC, including approval of projects and implementation of projects, he added.

The CPEC Committee was given a detailed briefing on the ongoing and proposed project of the department of Industry, Agriculture, Transport, Energy and Livestock. 

The committee unanimously approved Taunsa Hydropower Project Taunsa Barrage, two projects for construction of roads of the Communications department. While reviewing the progress of ongoing projects, Hashim Jawan Bakht directed the Secretary Transport to make a comprehensive plan to increase the number of passengers in Orange Line Metro Train. 

The Energy Department should ensure coordination with the federation for power supply in industrial zones. Feasibility reports of all projects should be prepared and their usefulness should be highlighted, he added.

The Minister said that a representative of the Chairman CPEC Authority and the Joint Working Group should also be invited to the next meeting. The Planning and Development Board should improve coordination with the CPEC Authority, the minister instructed.

Chairman Planning and Development Board Sheikh Hamid Yaqoob directed all departments concerned to expedite the feasibility reports of the projects approved in the committee and work on ongoing projects. The P&D Board would ensure the provision of funds.