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Sulemanki Barrage up-gradation a ‘milestone’: CM

LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that agreement signed between the Punjab government and a prominent Chinese company for rehabilitation and up-gradation of Sulemanki Barrage and Pakpattan Canal is a milestone in PML-N governments’ efforts to bring about green revolution in the province. 
According to a handout, the chief minister was talking to the press after attending as chief guest a ceremony where the agreement between the Punjab government and the Sino Hydro was inked on Tuesday.
Under the agreement, the Chinese company will work on the project of rehabilitation and up-gradation of Sulemanki Barrage, Pakpattan Canal and Khadar Branch Canal. The project will cost Rs 8 billion and will be completed in 2017. 
Irrigation Department Project Management Unit Head Syed Mehmoodul Hassan and Duan Jianxia signed the document on the behalf of respective parties.
Later, the chief minister said that completion of the project would ensure supply of water to additional 2.5 million acres of land that would ultimately benefit millions of families associated with agricultural farming in Okara, Pakpattan, Vehari and Bahawalnagar Districts. He said that agricultural economy would be strengthened due to availability of abundant water to a vast area and it would be instrumental in bringing about a green revolution in the province. 
He said that the agreement reflected growing economic cooperation between Pakistan and China and strengthening of their bilateral relations. 
He said that the Sulemanki Barrage was constructed in 1926 and that its rehabilitation and up-gradation was a need of the hour. He said that the Punjab government would ensure timely completion of irrigation projects. The chief minister congratulated farming community, the Chinese company and the Irrigation Department over finalisation of the agreement. 
The chief secretary, secretaries of Irrigation, Planning and Development and Information Departments and officials of the Chinese company were also present.   
Meanwhile, Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister Miroslav Lajcak called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday and discussed with him matters of mutual interest and promotion of bilateral ties. 
According to a handout, Slovakian Ambassador Jan Bory, Provincial Ministers Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Rana Sanaullah and Muhammad Shafique and senior officials were present.
The chief minister said that cordial relations existed between Pakistan and Slovakia. He emphasised the need to further promote trade and economic ties between the two countries. He thanked the Slovakian government for its support in grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union. 
Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister Miroslav Lajcak said that his country wanted promoting relations with Pakistan in energy and other sectors. He said that Chief Minister Shahbaz was serving the masses with commitment and dedication and had taken exemplary measures for the prosperity of the people of Punjab Province. 
According to another handout, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over a high-level meeting to review the law and order that lasted for over three hours. The chief minister issued necessary instructions to further improve the security situation. He warned that no negligence with regard to maintenance of law and order would be tolerated. 
The inspector general of Punjab Police and the home secretary gave detailed briefings. Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah and Col (r) Shuja Khanzada, chief secretary and other senior officials were present.

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