LAHORE: Punjab government on Saturday signed memoranda of understanding with two Chinese companies for cooperation in infrastructure projects including the southern loop of the Lahore Ring Road.
The government and the China International Water and Electric Corporation and the Welt Connect Company would also work together on several hydro, wind and solar power projects across the province.
These include a 200 megawatt coal power project in Dera Ghazi Khan and a 120 megawatt hydal power project, besides, 1,200 megawatts wind and solar power projects across the province.
Addressing the ceremony, Chief Minister Shahbaz Shahbaz said that the country was facing a severe energy crisis. He said that the projects identified in the MoUs would provide the country with much needed energy resources. He added that he would ensure that the MoUs were followed up without a delay.
Besides the chief minister, the Planning and Development Board chairman, secretaries of the Irrigation, Commerce and Minerals, the Punjab Investment Board vice-chairman, the Lahore commissioner and representatives of the Chinese companies attended the ceremony.
Enabling the poor
The chief minister also presided over a meeting to review the progress on a low-cost housing scheme Aashiana.
Sharif said that the provincial government was launching the scheme to enable the people belonging to the low-income groups to materialise their dream of owning a house.
In the first phase, he said, construction sites had been identified and house designs approved. He said that the houses will have all the basic facilities. He added that a quota will be reserved for widows, orphans and the disabled people. He directed the participants of the meeting to expedite work on these schemes. Sharif was briefed about the pricing formula, provision of basic facilities and other matters pertaining to the housing schemes.
Punjab Land Development Company chairman, MPA Sheikh Alauddin, Board of Revenue senior member, the Housing secretary, the Lahore commissioner and businessman Syed Maratab Ali attended the meeting.
Addressing a ceremony in Raiwind to inaugurate the shipment of halal meat to Malaysia by Zenith Associates, the chief minister said that growth in the livestock sector could help strengthen the national economy by increased exports of halal meat. He promised the investors that the provincial government would spend up to Rs1 billion to provide basic facilities to the livestock industry if the investors came up with plans to achieve an export target of $2 billion in two years.
The chief minister said that livestock sector was critical to the country’s economy, adding, that it had great potential of generating jobs and eradicating poverty.
He said that the country had large tracts of grazing fields and pastures and a talented workforce yet its share in the $600 billion meat trade was negligible. He mentioned that India was currently exporting $21 billion worth of meat to the international market.
He said that the government was dedicated to the development of the Livestock Sector. The first shipment of 25 tons meat, he said, was the first step in the direction of growth of the sector.
He said that a state-of-the-art slaughter house would very soon be set up in the province. The private sector, he said, would be given incentives for setting up livestock farms. He said that by improving the quality of livestock produced in the country the meat exports to the Middle Eastern countries and Malaysia could be increased by a significant amnount.
He stressed upon the office-bearers of meat association that they should come forward and play their role for increasing the halal meat exports.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2010.