LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has been informed that foreign investors, who have bought land in the nine special economic zones (SEZs) in Punjab, are getting jittery as they are unable to execute their plans of industrial development in the absence of power and gas supplies.
Sources told Dawn that the prime minister guaranteed provision of the facilities to the SEZs as well as release of funds allocated in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
The prime minister was chairing a meeting to review the status of the nine SEZs in Punjab during his day-long visit to the province on Wednesday. He chaired various meetings to review the development plans in Lahore and also held a one-on-one meeting with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar at the chief minister’s secretariat.
Investors from China, Turkey, Korea, the Netherlands and Japan have procured land for setting up industries and urgently needed power and gas.
Since the federal government has allocated funds for the facilities in its PSDP, the Punjab government has demanded the finances be released at the earliest so that the province could begin work on establishing grid stations and laying power lines and gas pipes.
PM Khan also directed the Punjab government to focus more on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Sheikhupura and Faisalabad, and resolve the administrative matters of the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company.
Imran annoyed with CM, PTI Punjab president at losses in Cantt board polls
PROJECTS: Commissioner retired Capt Muhammad Usman presented a plan of development projects in the city, including provision of safe drinking water, storage of rainwater, solid waste management, cleanliness, healthcare facilities as well as maintenance of roads.
He told the meeting, chaired by Mr Khan and attended by the PM’s special advisers and provincial ministers, the government was actively working for the provision of medical facilities as well as health cards to the masses.
Planning and Development Chairman Abdullah Khan Sumbal told the meeting the Punjab government had released funds for all health-related projects.
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said the health cards had been distributed all across Dera Ghazi Khan and Sahiwal divisions, while the announcement for provision of health cards in the remaining divisions would be made on Dec 31.
The 650-bed mother-and-child hospital at Ganga Ram Hospital would be operational by mid next year, she added.
The PM directed that the health projects be completed at the earliest. He stressed the government focus more on ongoing development and mega projects besides planting more trees.
“The Punjab government should launch a ‘Plant for Lahore’ campaign to avert pollution,” he said and expressed his desire to see Lahore regain its status of the ‘City of Gardens’.
LAW AND ORDER: In a meeting with the chief minister, chief secretary (CS) and inspector general of police (IGP), the prime minister directed that the administrative structure in Punjab be moulded to benefit the masses.
He also stressed the provincial government focus on developing a mechanism to facilitate the public at police stations and redress their complaints.
Earlier, newly appointed CS Kamran Ali Afzal briefed the premier about maintaining merit and transparency in administrative decisions. Measures were being taken to ensure the supply of daily-use items to the masses at controlled rates, he added.
IGP Sardar Ali Khan briefed the PM about law and order as well as police reforms and the measures to help resolve public complaints at police stations.
CM: In a separate meeting with CM Buzdar and PTI central Punjab President Ejaz Chaudhry, Mr Khan discussed the political and administrative matters of Punjab.
He expressed annoyance over the PTI’s defeat in the cantonment board elections in Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi.
He stressed the party workers focus on the grassroots to avert such results in the next polls, particularly the local government elections.
GOVERNOR: Differences between Prime Minister Khan and Governor Chaudhry Sarwar came to the fore when the premier left the city without granting an audience to the governor.
Rumours were rife that the PM may replace the governor and had even considered a couple of candidates.
Sources say fissures between the two developed after the governor spoke “some truth” at a dinner hosted by the National Assembly speaker.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2021