LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif Tuesday defended the coal based energy projects against the criticism unleashed by the opposition.

“Should we not use our Thar coal resources to meet our energy requirements and put a cover on these natural resources instead,” he posed in response to the critics that the coal based electricity projects have inbuilt pollution threat, while speaking to 39 students picked up for learning Chinese language in Beijing University ahead of their departure to China on Thursday (tomorrow).

The chief minister expressing the resolve to continue go with the coal based energy projects, at present going on in Sahiwal to generate 1320MW of electricity, underscored the need of meeting the health challenges through other means.

Besides America, thousands of megawatts are being produced from the coal in India, the chief minister said posing, in this view, should we wrap up our coal resources instead of using them. He said supercritical boilers are being installed in coal-based power project which are as per international standard and all environment standards for this project will be observed.

In the Rs2.2billion Punjab sponsored programme of sending a total 500 students from all four provinces and Gilgit-Biltastan to China for learning Chinese language, 190 talented students selected purely on merit are already under study at the best universities of China. The Present is the third badge of Punjab students.

The chief minister took exception the non-inclusion of the female students in the existing badge which he observed, was not acceptable in view of gender equality policy of the Punjab government. He directed head of the Programme not to ignore the girl students for learning Chinese language in future selection.

He expressed the hope that the number of students for learning Chinese language will be soared to 5000. He also gave laptops to the students. Chinese Consul General Long Dung also distributed laptops. The chief minister assured job to the youth who would secure good marks in the course of Chinese language.

The chief minister highlighted importance of the Chinese language for the future economic, trade and the cultural ties between the two friendly and time tested countries.

He said with the completion of CPEC the demand of the Chinese learnt people will grow while the billions of dollars project will at the same time, be creating lakhs of new jobs massively generating economic activity.

He said the Chinese language students will act as bridge between the traders and commercial community of the two countries. He termed spending on the students the best investment in the national interest and asked the students to project themselves as hardworking and dedicated persons in China, that may inspire China to invest more and more in Pakistan.

Shehbaz warns ‘enemies of CPEC’

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stated nobody will be allowed to disturb the development process initiated by the PML-N government.

“A conspiracy was hatched through lockdowns and sit-ins but well-aware people of Pakistan paid no response to such calls and failed them. Those who conspired against development in Pakistan now stand aloof after they were rejected by the people,” the chief minister said while talking to Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique who called on him here on Tuesday.

Shehbaz said that countries move forward with hard work, service and honesty and not by protests. “People of Pakistan only want development and prosperity. And we will fulfill all promises made with the people.”

Pakistan is heading towards its lost destination, he added while terming CPEC a game changer in the region as it is going to open up new avenues of economic and trade development. “Friends of Pakistan are happy with CPEC while enemies are upset with this mega project,” he further said.

Khwaja Saad Rafique said, on the occasion, that the leadership of the PML-N believes in transparency, merit and good governance and their services are praiseworthy.

Separately, the CM held a meeting with Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana and discussed matters of mutual interest, law and order and the development projects in the province.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said the PML-N government has made selfless public service during the last four years and given top priority to the provision of relief to the public.

 “The government is giving equal importance to the development of rural and urban areas and the development projects of worth billions of rupees are in progress in Punjab.”

Shehbaz said he gives special importance to development projects in southern Punjab and billions of rupees have been spent on the development and progress of the improverished region.

“Sahiwal coal power project is about to be completed and projects of such large capacity cannot be completed in such short time even in China. With the completion of this project 1320MW electricity will be added to the national grid and this project will play vital role in the elimination of load shedding from the country,” he added.

Governor Rajwana, on the occasion, said the Punjab government has taken effective measures to protect life and property of the people.