LAHORE - Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that suitable sites have been identified for setting up coal energy plants in the province.

While talking to a delegation of PML-N workers here Monday, the chief minister pointed out the sites found for setting up new coal-based power plants had sufficient water near the transmission lines. He claimed the government was pursing both traditional and alternative means to produce energy and all projects undertaken for this purpose would be completed strictly within the stipulated time.

The chief minister said it was prime mission of the government to rid the country of the electricity crisis as soon possible so that requisite supply of power to the industry and other development sectors could be made to let them contribute to the national economy in a big way. He asserted the government was quite aware of the situation erupted from loadshedding, so it was making hectic efforts to overcome this crisis. He reiterated solving energy problem was a national responsibility and the PML-N government was determined to face this challenge.

The chief minister said the government had offered special incentives to local and foreign companies to involve them in the production of electricity so that not only current needs could be met but electricity could be generated also for the future needs.

He said not only electricity but supply of required quantity of gas was also a priority of the government for which planning was being done.

The chief minister said it was a fact that shortage of electricity had affected every sector of life while a huge loss had been caused to agriculture, industrial and trade sectors.

He said the PML-N government, soon after coming to power, made sincere efforts to overcome the energy crisis. The government not only repaid circular debt of Rs 480 billion but also launched indiscriminate crackdown against gas and electricity thieves, detecting energy theft of billions of rupees. He said the elements involved in the electricity and gas theft had been brought to justice without any discrimination as they were criminals of the nation and deserved no leniency.

The CM further said Nandipur Power Project which had been pending due to greed and lust for money of the former rulers had been revived by the present government and was being executed speedily with the cooperation of China. He said electricity production would start from the Nandipur project in the beginning of the next year.