PESHAWAR: Hydropower projects will be launched in Swat and Chitral in the next spring season, said provincial Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti on Monday.Speaking to Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oe, who called him on at his office here, the chief minister said the country apparently had a gap between power demand and supply as no attention was paid to production of low-cost electricity in the past but his government had made a power strategy with demand and supply conforming to each other.He said the government would optimally use the province's potential to produce hydel power.
Mr Hoti said people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had bravely faced terrorism and natural disasters leading to betterment of the situation and that infrastructure in the flood-hit areas and law and order situation in terrorism-hit areas had improved a great deal.
The chief minister thanked the Japanese government for extending assistance during the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 flooding to the province and made a special mention of the Jica funded-projects in this respect.
He said matters regarding establishment of a children's hospital in Peshawar, especially provision of land, had been finalised and that work on the first ever children hospital of the province would begin soon.
Mr Hoti said his government had provided land to Edwards College, Fountain House and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and that work on these projects was underway.
He praised people of Fata for rendering great sacrifices in fight against terrorism and said peace and stability in Afghanistan, Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were interlinked.
The chief minister said bringing Fata in the national mainstream was need of the hour and therefore, political and administrative reforms were carried out for it. He supported the carrying out of Fata reforms in phases and in line with desires of locals.Mr Hoti apprised the Japanese ambassador of gradual increase in oil and gas production in southern districts of the province.
The ambassador lauded the provincial government's development strategy and said his country would continue working on projects for people's welfare.
Mr Hoti appreciated Japanese funding for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's development and said the government and people of the province were all praise for the Japanese support.
Also in the day, the Japanese ambassador visited the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and asked the chamber to follow in the footsteps of that of Sialkot on visa issuance mechanism for facilitation of 'genuine' businessmen.
He said Pakistan had huge potential in trade and investment and as security situation had improved, investment opportunities were growing.
Mr Oe stressed the need for greater interaction among businessmen of the two countries, saying it would help grow bilateral trade and create business opportunities.
He said though the Japanese government was very strict about visa issuance, it welcomed foreign visitors and businessmen.
The ambassador said his government had a different approach towards elimination of terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan and therefore, it focused on promotion of education and strengthening of health sector in the region.
He said there were ample investment opportunity available in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Japan would use them by investing money if security situation got better.
Earlier, SCCI president Afan Aziz highlighted problems faced by Peshawar's automobile spare parts dealers in seeking Japanese visa. He said Pakistan had immensely suffered due to negative image portrayed by the media.
He requested the Japanese ambassador to work towards providing market access through an FTA to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa industries.