Punjab to develop livestock sector to reduce poverty: CM

* Work on 100 megawatts solar power project in Cholistan underway

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the livestock and dairy farming sector is the backbone of national economy and it can be strengthened with the cooperation of private sector. 
He said that the Punjab government has adopted an effective strategy for the development of livestock sector as it can help overcome problems like poverty and unemployment. He said that a large portion of rural population is associated with livestock and dairy sector and promotion of this sector can strengthen rural economy. He was presiding over a high level meeting here today which reviewed various measures for livestock and dairy development. The Chief Minister said that livestock, dairy farming and agriculture are important sectors of national economy. He said that Allah Almighty has given Pakistan abundant water, suitable climate, hard working farmers, best human resource as well as livestock wealth and there is enough potential in livestock and dairy development department to make the country self-reliant. 
He said that this department will have to come up to the expectations by the development of livestock and dairy farming. Shahbaz Sharif said that work is being carried out speedily on the project of establishing a state-of-the-art veterinary university in Bahawalpur. He said that this project will help in livestock and dairy development. He said that modern veterinary courses will be conducted for the youth in this veterinary university. He said that there is a need to take practical measures to modernize livestock farms as promotion of livestock farming will result in strengthening of rural economy.
He directed that comprehensive planning be made for this purpose under public-private partnership. The Chief Minister further directed that a comprehensive programme be evolved for giving cattle to the poor women of villages. Special Assistant on Livestock Arshad Jatt, Secretary Livestock & Dairy Development, Vice Chancellor University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, progressive farmer Mumtaz Manais and concerned officers were present.
Meanwhile, a high level delegation of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), led by its Vice President Li Jingkai, met Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, on Sunday. Matters regarding cooperation in energy sector especially setting up of power plants to be operated with the indigenous coal were discussed in the meeting. The delegation expressed its keen interest in setting up power projects in Punjab.
Talking to the CMEC delegation, the Chief Minister said that deep-rooted friendly relations between Pakistan and China have been turned into useful economic ties. He said that several Chinese companies are making investment in infrastructure, energy, transport as well as other sectors due to excellent economic and investment policies of Pakistan Muslim League-N government, which has restored the confidence of foreign investors. He said that government is providing facilities on priority basis for investment in different sectors. 
The chief minister said that Punjab government has initially identified four sites for establishment of power projects based on indigenous coal while foundation stone of 1320 megawatts coal power plants to be set up with the investment of a consortium of Chinese companies has been laid in Sahiwal. Similarly, he said that work is in progress round the clock on a 100 megawatts solar project in Cholistan which will be completed by the end of the current year. He said that Punjab government will establish a 1000 megawatts solar project at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park with its own resources. Shahbaz Sharif said that every moment of the nation is precious, therefore, energy projects are being completed expeditiously and Nandipur Power Project is a glorious example in this regard. 
He said that the first turbine of Nandipur Power Project has started operating within a record period of seven months and is producing 100 megawatts electricity. The Chief Minister directed that Provincial Minerals Department and Energy Department should evolve a consolidated strategy for setting up power plants based on local coal and rapid progress should be made in this direction. He welcomed the interest shown by CMEC in investment in power projects and assured that Punjab government will extend all out cooperation in this regard.

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