LAHORE - The Asian Development Bank will finance shifting of 5,000 schools in Punjab to solar power.

During a meeting with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif yesterday, ADB Country Director Werner E Liepach also showed interest in financing Blue or Purple Line Train project in Lahore.

The chief minister welcomed the decision, and said the Punjab government is also shifting the same number of schools on solar power from its own resources.

During the meeting, both sides discussed the matters relating irrigation, infrastructure, energy, civic amenities, water management, and enhancing cooperation in other sectors.

Shahbaz Sharif lauded the role of Asian Development Bank for improving civic amenities. “The Asian Development Bank is a big partner of Pakistan in implementing various development projects,” he said, adding the programme launched for this purpose was being implemented successfully.

“Punjab government is pursuing a comprehensive programme of providing quality, durable, economical and safe travelling facilities to the people”. The CM welcomed the interest shown by Asian Development Bank in the financing Blue Line or Purple Line and said that the government was working on the feasibility reports, which will be completed next month.

“Skilled manpower plays an important role in strengthening national economy. This is why, Punjab government is paying special attention to the skill development,” he added.

CM Shahbaz also invited the bank to invest in the youth empowerment programme in the province. He stressed the need for paying special attention to Smart Irrigation due to climatic changes, through which losses of flood can be minimized.

He hoped the collaboration with ADB will continue in irrigation, water management and other sectors besides taking steps for protection against flood.

Saying there was best working relationship with Punjab government, Mr Liepach highlighted the progress made with regard to implementation of various ongoing programmes.

Meanwhile, Chinese Consul General Yu Boren called on CM Shahbaz Sharif and congratulated him on the Exim Bank China’s declaration of funds for the Orange Line Metro Train project.

The CM thanked the Chinese leadership, government and officials of Exim Bank, saying that the funds declaration was an important milestone.

Shahbaz said all possible steps have been taken for the protection of historical places and no historical heritage will be affected. “We will come up to the confidence expressed by Chinese leadership and government and metro train project will be completed by working round the clock,” he added.

Talking on the occasion, Chinese Consul General Yu Boren appreciated the efforts of Shahbaz Sharif for taking on public welfare projects with commitment.

Punjab Mass Transit Authority MD Kh Ahmed Hassaan and other officials were also present on the occasion. Separately, a delegation of UK educationists led by London School of Economics Director Craig Calhoun met CM Shahbaz Sharif.

They shared views on the matters relating to cooperation between the Punjab government and London School of Economics in research sector, and agreed to take more steps for a close liaison in future.

They exchanged views on the prospects of exchange of students and faculty members of London School of Economics and educational institutions of Punjab.

CM Shahbaz said that research could not be ignored for benefiting from modern technology. “Keeping in view the importance of research, Punjab government will work with London School of Economic in development and research sector in future,” he told the delegation.

He also assured that all possible cooperation will be extended for an international summit due to be held in Lahore next month under the aegis of London School of Economics.

Shahbaz Sharif said he will pay a visit to London School of Economics during his next trip to Britain.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Calhoun told the CM that cooperation will be extended to Punjab government in research sector.