LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has taken strict notice of lack of progress in exploration of mineral resources and iron ore reserves in Rajua and Chiniot and expressed strong reservations over the poor performance of Mines & Minerals Department and Punjab Mineral Company.
He has ordered immediate action against the officers guilty of extraordinary delay in these projects and dereliction of duty. The Chief Minister has ordered that proceedings be initiated under the law against all former and serving officers concerned who have shown negligence, inefficiency and laxity towards both these projects. He lamented that in spite of clear instructions, no progress has been made towards these projects and criminal negligence has been displayed by creating hurdles for foreign companies which had shown interest in these projects.
The Chief Minister described this attitude as a cruel joke with the nation. He said that the entire blame for this state of affairs rests on the officers of Mines & Minerals Department as it is due to their lack of interest and inefficiency that no progress has been made towards exploration of mineral resources and iron ore reserves at Rajua and Chiniot. He said that negligence towards official duties and responsibilities cannot be tolerated and the officers of Mines & Minerals Department who occupy key posts have no right to stay if they were not competent enough to execute these projects. The Chief Minister directed that for the purpose of speedy progress on these important projects of national interest, renowned scientist Dr. Samar Mubarik Mand be consulted and services of competent, hardworking and dedicated officers be acquired for the key posts of Mines & Minerals Department and Punjab Mineral Company. He also directed that Director General Anti-Corruption should hold an inquiry regarding the causes of delay as well as fix responsibility for negligence towards these important projects and submit a report.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister presided over a high-level meeting regarding exploration of mineral resources and iron ore reserves especially at Rajua and Chiniot. Provincial Energy Minister Sher Ali Khan, Chief Secretary, Secretary Minerals and officers concerned were present. Prominent scientist Dr. Samar Mubarik Mand also participated in the meeting on the special request of Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister on the occasion directed that in consultation with the nuclear scientist Dr. Samar Mubarik Mand, such engineers, geologists and experts be inducted in the department as are competent, hardworking and infused with the national spirit for the exploration of mineral resources so that these could be utilised for poverty alleviation and overcoming unemployment.
He said that while Pakistan is facing unemployment and poverty, precious mineral resources bestowed by the nature are not being properly utilised. He said that the main reason for this situation is negligence and inefficiency on the part of the departments concerned. He said that minerals worth billions of dollars are available at various places but no serious effort has been made for their exploration.
He said that such individuals were given responsibility for these projects in the past as did nothing except loot and plunder. Expressing his strong indignation over poor performance of the Minerals Department, the Chief Minister said that speedy progress will have to be made and services of competent and hardworking officers will have to be acquired for making up the loss of the previous years.
He directed that for the purpose of exploration of iron ore reserves at Rajua and Chiniot, services of foreign companies be acquired by following legal procedure and this work should be carried out speedily and in a transparent manner.