LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that there is a vast scope of generation of electricity from solar energy in Punjab and 46 sites have been selected for setting up small solar projects to minimise shortage of power.

He was presiding over a high-level meeting on Sunday which reviewed the prospects of setting up solar energy projects in the province.

German solar expert Dr Gerwin Greesman and Additional Chief Secretary Energy Jehanzeb Khan gave a briefing on small solar power projects.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that resolving of energy crisis was essential for eliminating poverty and unemployment as well as accelerating trade and economic activities. He said that government was taking all possible measures to deal with the issue of shortage of electricity. He said that untimely protests and sit-ins had wasted a lot of precious time of the nation and there is no room for further delay.

He said that collective efforts were needed to remove darkness from the country and the concerned departments and institutions will have to perform their duties in this regard with a renewed spirit. He said that energy crisis had badly affected education, health, agriculture and other social sectors. He said that resolving of energy problem is of vital importance for promotion of industrialization.

 The chief minister said that the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is making sincere efforts to deal with energy issue. He said that there are vast opportunities of generation of electricity from solar power and solar projects of one to fifty megawatts will play an important role in minimizing shortage of electricity. He said that concerned departments should spare no effort for speedy implementation of small solar projects.

He said Punjab government was initially setting up a 100-megawatt solar project in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur with its own resources and work was being carried out speedily over this project which will start producing electricity by the end of the current year.

The chief minister said that Punjab government is also working on coal, hydel, biogas, biomass and other projects of generation of power from alternative sources. He said that there was also a vast scope of production of electricity from biomass and speedy efforts are needed in this direction. He said that government is working round the clock for resolving energy problem and overcoming other issues and the day is not far when the country will put on the road to progress and prosperity.

Advisor Azmul Haq, Senior Member Board of Revenue, Additional Chief Secretary Energy, Managing Director NTDC, officers of MEPCO, FESCO, NEPRA, Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, energy experts as well as German solar power expert Dr Gerwin Preesman were present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that derailing of a stable democratic system on October 12, 1999 was an evil conspiracy to disrupt the process of progress and prosperity of Pakistan and the nation is still facing its consequences.

In his message on October 12, the chief minister paid rich tributes to the political forces especially Muslim League-N leaders and workers who showed courage and steadfastness during the long dictatorial period of atrocities and oppression.

He said that October 12, 1999 was the blackest day in the political history of the country when a dictator toppled the democratically elected government of the country. “Had democratic process not been sabotaged in various phases of Pakistan’s history, the nation would not have been facing serious issues like terrorism, load shedding, price-hike and unemployment”, he observed.

The chief minister said that credit goes to Pakistan Muslim League-N for strictly adhering to its stance in the interest of stability of democracy and democratic institutions. He said that continuity and stability of such a democratic system which is free from corruption, nepotism and loot is essential for solution of the problems of the country.

He said that had the development projects started by Nawaz Sharif during his last tenure in communication, health, education and other sectors not been interrupted by the dictatorship of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan would have joined the ranks of developed countries.

The chief minister further said that on this day the nation salutes those brave and committed people of the country who courageously faced the state oppression during the Musharraf dictatorship and rendered unprecedented sacrifices. He said that on this day the nation will have to pledge that it will uphold the democratic principles and values and utilize all its energies for transforming Pakistan in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.