LAHORE - Top officials of World Bank in Pakistan yesterday called on Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and discussed with him the measures for urban development as well as to improve civic facilities.

The WB Mission including Country Director in Pakistan Illango Patchamuthu, Senior Director Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasques and Urban Development for South Asia Manager Ming Zhang, assured cooperation with regard to steps for improvement of big cities of Punjab.

“The Punjab government is implementing a balanced policy for the development of urban and rural areas,” the chief minister told the Mission. He said that work was being carried out speedily on the development of different sectors at a cost of billions of rupees for improving facilities in cities and cooperation of World Bank for improvement of facilities in small and big cities as well as urban development will be welcomed.

“Provision of best services to the citizens is our top priority and Punjab government has evolved a coordinated programme in this regard,” Shehbaz said, adding that work is continuing on different projects of health, education, transport and infrastructure and completion of these projects will result in further improvement of services to the citizens.

Shehbaz Sharif said that a solid strategy was being implemented for providing better transport facility to the people.

“After successful metro bus service in Lahore and Rawalpindi-Islamabad, its scope is being expanded. The Metro bus project is near completion in Multan, a big district of south Punjab.

“First metro rail project of Pakistan is being executed in Lahore and this project is a revolutionary step towards provision of international standard transport facilities to the citizens,” he added.

Besides travel facilities of international standard in Lahore, the CM told the World Bank delgation that first phase of Safe City Project for safeguarding life and property of citizens has been completed in the capital city. This project will help eradicate crimes from the province, he said, adding that the project will be replicated in six big cities of Punjab.

Also, a mega project has also been evolved for providing potable water to the people. “Improvement of civic facilities is among our priorities and for this purpose, education, health, infrastructure and transport sectors are being improved through revolutionary steps. Citizens will benefit from all these projects and their living standard will be raised,” Shehbaz added.

He stressed that the World Bank should evolve a roadmap for urban development and improving facilities in small and big cities.

World Bank Group Senior Director Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasques lauded CM Shehbaz for taking a number of steps for improving civic amenities and urban progress. He said that better work has been carried out in infrastructure, transport and other sectors in Punjab as compared to several countries.

He assured that all out cooperation will be extended to Punjab government for urban development and improving civic facilities. Provincial Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chief Secretary and Chairman Planning & Development were also present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the CM reviewed pace of progress of ongoing development programmes for welfare of the people of the province.

Addressing a meeting, he said that under Annual Development Programme, various public welfare schemes are being forwarded successfully throughout the province.

“More than 1.5 lakh talented girls and boys of resource-less families are studying through Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. Free quality health facilities have been made available to the children of the poor families through Daanish School System.

“The process of provision of best facilities to the people will be continued in future as well,” he added.

Provincial ministers Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Ch Muhammad Shafique, chief secretary, Planning & Development chairman and other officials concerned were present on the occasion.