QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti on Wednesday announced a Rs 50 billion project for solarization of around 27,000 registered agricultural tube-wells in the province to facilitate the farmers and boost the agricultural sector. “It is a historic achievement of the provincial government that pursued the Federal Government and got approved the multi-billion uplift project. Thanks to Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif who paid heed to our demands,” he said while addressing a press conference soon after reaching Quetta after successful discussions in Islamabad. The delegation of parliamentarians led by Chief Minister Bugti visited Islamabad and successfully persuaded the Federal Government to address a crucial agricultural sector issue by promoting the solarization of agriculture tube-wells. As per mutually agreed formula, the CM said, the Federal Government would pay Rs 40 billion and the provincial government contribute Rs 10 billion for the solarization project as an alternative solution to the growing power shortage. He said he had issued directives to the Chief Secretary to formulate a comprehensive plan within three days so that the project could be started at the earliest. “From tonight, the QESCO (Quetta Electricity Supply Company) will provide 6 hours electricity to the agricultural tube-wells until the completion of the solarization project. Rs 4 billion has been allocated for the purpose which will be shared equally by federal and provincial governments,” he added. The CM said the Federal Government had been providing subsidies in electricity rates for the agricultural tube-wells to boost the agri production in Balochistan.Sarfraz Bugti said they held meetings with various ministers in the Federal Capital to explore options for more renewable energy projects in order to resolve the electricity shortage issue in the province. To a question regarding the power sector’s circular debt in the province, he said the electricity theft was common issue across the country and the provincial government was working to minimize the losses. He said they were taking steps to create job opportunities for the youth in various sectors. The government was also striving to provide technical trainings to the youth and equip them with the much-needed, valuable skills so that they could contribute to the economic development of the province, he added. To another query, CM Bugti said he along with the Interior Minister would soon visit Chaman to address the grievances of local people who had been staging sit-ins. He said his government would also work on reforms in health, education, livestock, food, agriculture and other sectors to improve governance in the province. As regards irregularities in the recruitment of teachers by SBKWU, he said the process would be cancelled if the complaints in that regard were proved true.



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