LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has agreed to promote cooperation in power and gas sectors with India during a meeting with a high level Indian delegation in Lahore.

Talking to the delegation which was led by Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay at his Model Town house on Tuesday, the Punjab CM said that the energy crisis had caused an irreparable damage to economy.

He said that efforts would be made on war footing to control load-shedding and practical measures would be taken to seek cooperation of India for this purpose. He welcomed the interest shown by India to cooperate with Pakistan in energy sector. He said that India and Pakistan could move ahead by promoting trade and economic relations which would be beneficial to the people of the two countries.    

The Indian delegation gave a briefing to the Chief Minister on the proposed project of laying a power transmission line from Amritsar to Lahore and a gas pipeline from Jalandhar to Jallo. Pakistani experts also submitted their proposals regarding the proposed project.

Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Punjab chief secretary, former caretaker federal minister for Water and Power Dr Musadaq Malik, finance secretary, NTDC advisor on power planning, Indian Ministry of Electricity Joint Secretary Mrs Rita Acharya, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Joint Secretary PK Singh, India’s Central Electricity Authority member Ravinder, Indian Punjab Power and Energy Secretary Anirudh Tiwari and others were present on the occasion.

Talking to the delegation, Shahbaz Sharif said: “Pakistan and India are neighbouring countries and by acting upon the principle of peaceful co-existence they will have to move forward on the road to progress and prosperity. Cooperation in economic sector is the key to development of the two countries.

Trade cooperation between Pakistan and India is essential for peace, progress and prosperity in the region. Both the countries can benefit from each other’s experiences in trade, investment, industries, education, health and other sectors.

Meanwhile, the volume of Punjab budget 2013-14 is likely to touch Rs 900 billion.  Last year Rs 786 billion budget was presented while the upcoming budget may exceed to the limit of Rs 900 billion with focus on poverty alleviation, end to power crisis, creation of more jobs through industrialisation and promoting agro-economy.

Sources said the next budget will also carry special package for the youth and the women besides incentives for trade and commercial side.

Sources say that budget is expected to be presented on June 15 or June 17 and which date will be finalised, depends on preparation of the budget.

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Pakistan and India on Tuesday held discussions on various proposals regarding electricity trade and HVDC link establishment to transfer 500 MW in a bid to control worsening power loadshedding in Pakistan.

Both the sides discussed the proposals for electricity trade and HVDC link establishment to transfer 500 MW. The lines will emanate from grid station in India to grid station in Pakistan. Detailed discussions with NTDCL were held in Lahore the other day.

A meeting of group of experts on trade of electricity hailing from Pakistan and India was held here in the premises of water and power ministry. The meeting was chaired by Khawaja Asif, Minister for Water and Power.

During the meeting five-member Indian experts group was headed by Joint Secretary (Transmission), Ministry of Power India. Later, discussions were held with Pakistan experts group.