The Punjab legislators, who met on Monday after a two-day break, spent the day recommending solutions to the energy crisis the country is facing.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members urged the government to start the construction of the Kalabagh Dam (KBD) immediately.
The Punjab Assembly session started at 4:50pm, almost two hours later than its scheduled time. The attendance remained low because most of the opposition members were in Islamabad for a meeting called by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Saeed Elahi replied to members’ questions about his department.
PML-N’s Asghar Ali Monda said that Kalabagh Dam would help in overcoming the energy crisis. He blamed the energy crisis for widespread unemployment and the poor law and order situation.
He asked that the Punjab government initiate a campaign to convince the federal government to allocate funds, in the upcoming budget, for the construction of the dam.
PML-Q’s Unification Bloc’s Malik Sher Ali said that the Punjab government should allocate funds in its budget for a KBD campaign. He declared dams essential for the country as “oxygen for life”.
He then said that the Punjab government needed to focus on arid areas in North Punjab, like Attock, instead of spending most of the development funds in the south.
PPP’s Chaudhry Javed Asghar Gujra suggested that the Punjab government focus its energies and resources on installation of solar energy and biogas plants. After the 18th Amendment, provinces have been authorised to establish electricity generation plants, he pointed out. Since most of the PPP members were absent, PML-N’s Mian Muhammad Rafique asked the speaker to set aside a whole day for discussion on KBD.
PML-N’s Ejaz Khan presented a resolution urging the federal government to take back the recent increase in petrol prices. All of the MPAs present in the house passed the resolution.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2012.