LAHORE - Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over the fourth meeting of Punjab Energy Council which gave formal approval to the master plan of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park spread on 10,000 acres of land. The Chief Minister has directed the department concerned to immediately start the development work on the project so that it completes as early as possible. He has also sought a third party audit system of all development works in the park.
The meeting also fixed start of the next year the target of starting energy production from solar park. The meeting also gave approval to setting up of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Company with Chief Minister as its chairman, Provincial Minister for Energy, vice chairman and six members each from public and private sector.
Addressing the meeting of Punjab Energy Council, Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government is working on energy generation projects from various alternative sources and the most important project is setting up of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park for which funds are also being released immediately for starting development works. The Chief Minister while giving approval to establishment of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Company said that this company will ensure speedy implementation on solar projects whereas Punjab Industrial Estates Development and Management Company will be responsible of infrastructure development which will be completed expeditiously. He said that all necessary facilities would be provided in solar park including school, playground, community centre, mosque and dispensary so that engineers and other persons could perform their duties devotedly. Shahbaz Sharif told that Punjab government will set up projects of 700 megawatts in solar park from its own resources and in the first phase, work will be started on eight projects of 50 megawatts each. He said that the solar park has been divided into 20 pieces each of 250 acre of land and solar power project of 50 megawatts will be set up on every 250 acre land. He said that there is also room for extension in solar park so that more energy could be generated from this park, if required.
The Chief Minister said that Punjab government will complete the work on the projects set up in solar park on emergent basis from its own resources and the beginning of next year is being fixed as target of generating energy from the project. He directed that concerned departments should ensure achievement of this target by working round the clock on the project. He said that Chief Executive Officer having best abilities should be posted for the project.
He directed Irrigation Department to complete the work of laying pipeline and installing tube-wells for the provision of water from canal to solar park within four months and NTDC to complete the laying of transmission line and the evacuation of electricity to be generated from solar park within six months. Shahbaz Sharif said that besides laying transmission line, upgradation work of grid should also be completed and no delay will be tolerated in this regard. He directed that the quality of development works in solar park should be ensured at every cost. He said that the Bank of Punjab in consultation with Finance Committee of Energy Council should submit practicable recommendations with regard to project financing in the next meeting. The Chief Minister said that rapid progress should also be made with regard to setting up Punjab Energy Fund.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister was given detailed briefings by various departments with regard to master plan of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, construction of infrastructure, evacuation of electricity, laying transmission line, provision of water and other projects. Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Finance Minister Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Agriculture Minister Dr. Farrukh Javed, Chief Secretary, Chairman Planning & Development, Coordinator for Energy Shahid Riaz Gondal, Vice Chairman Investment Board, concerned secretaries and other senior officials attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, Directors of a British investment company, Renoir Investment, Stephan Petry and Ken Browne, called on Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif here on Saturday. Prospects of investment in energy sector were discussed during the meeting. The Chief Minister informed them about the vast opportunities of investment existing in energy sector in Punjab and the incentives and facilities provided by the government. The Chief Minister invited the UK company to invest in energy sector in Punjab and British investors responded to the offer positively while expressing interest in investment in various projects.