Centre, Balochistan seal the deal to switch all 28,000 agri tube wells to solar energy

Shehbaz Sharif says one million tube wells will be converted to solar power across country to save $3.5b fuel import bills

If we fail to make tough decisions, we will have to seek IMF loan again: PM.

QUETTA/ISLAMABAD   -   Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday said that under an agreement reached between the federal and Balochistan provincial governments, a total of 28,000 agricultural tube wells in the province would be shifted to solar system within three months.

While talking to reporters after the agreement signing ceremony, the prime minister said the federal government would provide 70 percent funds while 30 percent would be contributed by the provincial government for Rs 55 billion solarization project.

The prime minister met the provincial cabinet in which the federal ministers and Governor Balochistan Jafar Khan Mandokhel and Chief Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti were present, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

Earlier, the prime minister witnessed an agreement signing ceremony between the federal and the provincial governments for shifting of electricity run tube wells to solar powered mechanism. The prime minister tasked the chief minister to complete the solarization project within three months.

He opined that the completion of project would ensure prosperity of the farmers and bring a large area of cultivable land under farming, adding that with functioning of the solar powered tube wells, the farmers would get uninterrupted power supply throughout the day.

During his address to the provincial cabinet, he termed the agreement as ‘a deep structured change’ firmly rooted in the government’s conceived reforms agenda, he said that a huge sum of Rs500 billion would be saved from going down the drain.

The prime minister said that the federal government would be absolve of paying Rs80-90 billion burden which was provided as subsidy to the province due to non-payment of bills and still the farmers community was getting 2 to 6 hours power supply. With the solarization process, the issue would be resolved forever, he expressed the hope.

The prime mister said that throughout the world, the utilization of solar capacity was tapped for generation of environment friendly power which was considered as the inexpensive source of power.

He said that the government was taking steps on priority basis for the provision of solar power and assured that the federal government would work closely with the provincial government for the uplift of the province.

The prime minister said that they had reserved 10 percent of additional quota for the students of province in a batch of 1,000 graduate students being sent to China on government scholarships to seek the latest training in the agriculture sector.

While 10 percent additional quota for the students of Balochistan was also allocated in the training programme by Huawei to 300,000 students in IT sector, he added.

He further informed that the federal government had already set aside funds in the fiscal budget for Danish schools in the province, adding that they were keen to broaden Danish schools to the divisional level so that students in the entire province could be benefitted from the education facility.

The prime minister said that when the young people of Balochistan were equipped with the latest education, the country and province would move on path of progress.

The prime minister also appreciated ideas and efforts of the chief minister and said the today’s signing of agreement was part of the reforms agenda and collective efforts made by the federal and provincial governments for the progress and prosperity of the country.

The prime minister also apprised that a total of 1 million agricultural tube wells throughout the country would also be converted on solar power and would save a sum of $3.5 billion on import bills of fuel, thus saving precious and limited resources of the country.

The model for the upcoming project would be introduced soon which would be ‘a quantum jump’, he added.

He regretted that the injustices were done with the debt ridden country in the last many decades and if they had not taken drastic steps for the economic turnaround, the coming generations would not forgive them.

The prime minister said that it was his first visit to the province after the formation of new government.

He said Balochistan was a very important province of the country and if it was lagging behind in terms of development, there were various reasons, adding Pakistan’s progress was linked with the development of province. The prime minister said that Punjab province had also allocated a part of its NFC share to the development of Balochistan, adding about Rs150-160 billion had been provided to province so far.

The prime minister said that nothing was impossible to achieve in this world though there might be difficulties but the developed nations emerged successful after overcoming different challenges with collective efforts.

He said Gwadar would become the biggest income resource for the province and China was ready to transform it into a global hub of trade.

The prime minister also expressed the resolve to root out the scourge of terrorism from the province.

Later, the prime minister attended the Balochistan cabinet meeting where Chief Minister Sarfaraz Bugti expressed the gratitude to PM Shehbaz Sharif for announcing a project of conversion of 28000 tube wells on solar power. He said the special attention of the prime minister for the development and prosperity of the people of Balochistan was worth appreciable.

“The way you have worked on priority basis with regard to shifting of agricultural tubewells to solar energy is unprecedented,” the Balochistan Chief Minister said. The project of converting agricultural tube wells to solar energy in Balochistan would provide relief to the people associated with the agricultural sector and save billions of rupees in subsidy given to QESCO, he added.

He said Solarization project was a very important project, the completion of which would  solve the problems of farmers and landlords and save billions of rupees in the form of subsidy.

Also, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said it will be a matter of great shame if Pakistan has to once again return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for another loan after three years.

“To free ourselves from this cycle of debt, the federal and provincial governments, along with the relevant institutions, must work together,” the premier said while addressing a signing ceremony to launch a significant initiative aimed at the solarisation of agricultural tube wells in Balochistan on Monday.

“If we make this collective effort, future generations will be grateful. However, if we fail to make tough decisions, we will find ourselves seeking assistance from the IMF once again,” the PM, who was on a daylong visit to Quetta, said.

‘PML-N believes in the public service’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also on Monday stressed the elected representatives of the party from Balochistan to play their role in development of the province to ensure well being and prosperity of the people.

“PML-N believes in the public service, the elected representatives of the party should focus their attention on the welfare of the people,” the prime minister said while talking to a delegation of PML-N Parliamentarians from Balochistan which called on him here.

During his visit to Quetta, PM Shehbaz said the provincial coalition government in Balochistan should identify the problems of the province and prepare a comprehensive plan to resolve them.

He directed the elected representatives to take steps to complete the development projects in their respective constituencies and solve the problems in consultation with the Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan.

The meeting was also attended by Federal Ministers Jam Kamal Khan, Azam Nazir Tarar, Governor Balochistan Jafar Khan Mandokhel and party leaders.

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