LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday said five-day a week gas supply to the industrial units as announced by the prime minister after a meeting with him would end crisis-like situation prevailing in Punjab for over a fortnight.
He claimed that the premier had announced five-day gas supply to Punjab industries keeping in view the stance taken by the PML-N led government.
He was speaking at a hurriedly called news conference at his Model Town Camp Office. “We should trust the PM that his announcement will be implemented in letter and spirit,” he told a questioner.
He said: “Without sharing joys and sorrows by all federating units, the federation cannot be strengthened and now the NFC Award and PM’s decision on gas supply is the result of mutual love.”
Shahbaz said 15-day gas suspension had severely affected 15 million people resulting in cancellation of export orders worth billions.
He said though the demand and supply gap in electricity and gas persisted in the country the discrimination against Punjab was not tolerable as 80 per cent textile industry located in the province which contributed 60 per cent to national GDP.
He said the Punjab industry was currently getting 180mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) against the requirement of 600mmcfd and now the PM’s decision to implement the ECC’s gas load-management plan would change the situation.
Shahbaz lauded the federal petroleum minister for realising the sensitivity of the matter and announcing equal load-management for all provinces.
Regarding the National Finance Commission Award, the CM said it was implemented because of consensus among four provinces.
He said the federal government had managed to finalise and implement the award in a friendly manner which could be termed a bright chapter in the country’s history as the previous governments were unable to do so in 12 years.
To a query about charge-sheet issued by PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi, Shahbaz said he did not like to respond to the allegations of those who plundered Rs50 billion worth of national wealth by extending Bank of Punjab loans to their favourites through bank directors and sold their mills setup on loans. “BoP former president Hamesh Khan is in jail and now the ball is in the court of NAB.”
He said sugar price came down from Rs125 per kg to around Rs70 by virtue of his efforts and added that the local sugar was now available at the same rate.
To another question, he said the inquiry committee he had constituted in connection with purchase of machinery for Nawaz Sharif Social Security Hospital comprised officials having good repute. “My one role was to constitute a committee but now the panel is to fix responsibility.”
Meanwhile, according to a handout Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday met with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani with regard to severe gas crisis.
The premier, acknowledging the stance of Punjab, announced supply of gas to industries in the province for five days a week.
Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar who was also present on the occasion agreed with the point of view of the Punjab chief minister.
Earlier, representatives of industrialists and traders of Punjab had a meeting with Naveed Qamar in the presence of the chief minister and informed him that owing to `unfair’ gas distribution formula a number of industrial units had closed down resulting in cancellation of export orders.