ISLAMABAD  -  Federal Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar Friday said the government was planning to take initiatives for permanent solution to water scarcity and energy problem.

“The government is determined to cope with the challenge of water scarcity and meet the energy needs of the country on sustainable basis through coordinated efforts and well-thought-out policy devised in collaboration with experts and stakeholders,” the minister said, talking to Water and Power Development Authority Chairman Lt-Gen (r) Muzammil Hussain who called on him here. The Wapda chairman briefed the minister on the ongoing projects related to energy, power and water resources.

Meanwhile, the meeting also discussed the government priorities, availability of funds, status of releases and future demands in the water, power and energy sectors. Hussain informed the minister of the progress of ongoing water projects, including Diamer Bhasha, Kurram Tangi, Dasu and Mohmand dams as well as Reni Canal and Kachi Canal, updating him on the current status of the water reservoirs.

Speakking on the occasion, Bakhtiyar said the government was fully aware of the challenges in water, power and energy sectors and was ready to provide resources for timely completion of all the ongoing projects. He stated the government was planning to take initiatives for permanent solution to water scarcity and energy problem. “We are ready to advance by leaps and bounds on all fronts, engaging all stakeholders to make the country self-reliant as envisioned by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.

The minister averred experts in government sector needed to formulate policies to make the country self sufficient in energy sector and rid the country of water crises otherwise water scarcity would trigger food shortage.

Bakhtiyar urged experts in the government and private sectors to give advice on adopting alternate sources of energy to create sustainable conditions. “In order to completely overcome the food shortage crisis, promote agriculture sector, improve the economy and bring the country at par with developing countries, we need to work on short-term and long-term plans in energy and water sectors,” he said.

The minister called for expediting the ongoing projects in water and energy sectors and vowed to provide all necessary resources for their timely completion as per international standards.