Mr Reed Aeschliman, Mission Director of USAID Pakistan called on Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi at his office and agreed to enhance the development partnership between Punjab and USAID on Tuesday. Both agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in IT, agriculture, water management, energy, education and security sectors. Cooperation was assured by USAID regarding the construction of small dams and clean energy and Reed Aeschliman welcomed the progress regarding the agreement to declare Punjab and California as sister states. The CM termed USAID as an excellent development partner of the Punjab government and vowed to enhance cooperation with it to improve the economy, business and investment. Under the new growth strategy of USAID for the next five years, steps would be taken to expand cooperation in the future, he said. My earlier education reforms program was appreciated globally; Parvez Elahi remarked and added that education has been made free up to graduation by the incumbent government. The water management program was started in 2002 but the subsequent government did not do anything about it. In the previous era, a project was envisaged to build small dams based on the flow of canal water. Unfortunately, the PML-N government surrendered this project to politics, he added. Now, the government is going to restart the construction of small dams as it would provide cheap electricity and water to the farmers. Alongside this, the government is also providing solar tube wells to the farmers and electric vehicles are being introduced to fulfil the vision of a green Punjab; the CM said and mentioned that USAID’s support in these programs would be welcomed. He added that a cell has been created in the Planning and Development Board to implement the agreement to declare Punjab and California as sister states. This agreement would boost mutual contacts and investment. The IT companies of Silicon Valley would be welcomed to Punjab; the CM said and added that he personally monitors the progress of public welfare programs in Punjab. The CM stated that Rescue 1122 is the best emergency service in Pakistan but also in South Asia. This service has been devolved to provide convenience to the people. The Emergency Services Academy has been built on modern lines. The rescue 1122 staff was the first to reach out to the flood victims. The provincial government has given a huge relief package for flood affectees to the tune of billions of rupees. The damage to the houses and livestock of the victims has been compensated by the government, concluded the CM. Reed Aeschliman thanked CM for the support of the Punjab government and stated that cooperation would be promoted with the Punjab government. Would be happy to extend support to the Punjab government in various areas; he added and said that Punjab is a large province and all possible support would be extended to boost the growth of Punjab. We are trying our best to have more development in Punjab, increase investment and boost business; in this regard, our cooperation would continue, he further said. Deputy Mission Director USAID Yohannes Araya, Project Management Specialist Waseem Ashraf, Chief Secretary Abdullah Sumbal, former federal secretary and chairman P&D Salman Ghani, Principal Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti, former principal secretary GM Sikandar, ACS (Home) Capt (R) Asadullah Khan, Chairman PBIT Fazeel Asif, DG Punjab Emergency Services, secretary energy, secretary P&D and others were also present. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi chaired a meeting to review steps relating to the promotion of higher education according to international standards. The meeting decided to restore sports activities in the colleges while deliberating upon the proposal to give financial autonomy to the colleges. Adviser to CM Aamir Saeed Raan, Chief Secretary Abdullah Sumbal, secretary higher education department and others were present. The CM announced holding sports tournaments in colleges to promote healthy activities in society. It’s being reviewed to condition the principal’s ACR with sports activities in the college; he stated and added that reforms would be introduced for transparent utilization of funds in the universities. The legislation would also be enacted to hire consultants from local universities. Alongside this, an IT wing would be established to provide necessary facilities in colleges and to identify the non-availability of facilities, the CM added. Director Colleges would report missing facilities in colleges after every visit. The higher education department would be developed to introduce positive changes for ensuring a better future for the students, he further said. Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi has sought a report from RPO Sahiwal about the ill-treatment of youth in PS A Division of Okara and ordered taking legal action against the police officials involved in it. Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi will visit Jahanian tomorrow (Wednesday) where he will address a public gathering at Chaudhry Parvez Elahi Cricket Stadium and will also meet the public representatives. Chief Minister Parvez Elahi will lay the foundation stone of the road construction and expansion project from Bridge 114-10/R to Bridge 132-10/R. The construction and expansion project of a 15 km long road will cost a total of 71 crores 40 lakh rupees. The construction and expansion of the road will provide an alternative route to Multan and Duniapur and will facilitate the movement of lakhs of citizens. The delivery of produce from the farms to the markets will also be facilitated and the farmers will be facilitated in transporting especially fruits and vegetables to the markets. Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi visited Jilani Park this evening. Chief Minister Parvez Elahi visited the winter festival organized by PHA Lahore. He also inspected the traditional food stalls set up in the food court. Chaudhry Parvez Elahi expressed deep interest in the traditional food stalls of Punjab. Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi also inspected the various handicraft stalls and praised the artists’ creations. On the arrival of the Chief Minister at Jilani Park, the artists performed dances on folk songs of Punjab to the beat of drums. A horse dance was also performed on this occasion. Children presented a bouquet to Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on his arrival at Jilani Park. He said that cultural stalls are of interest to the people. I introduced the food court for the first time, now we will expand the chain of food courts, he added. The best entertainment is being provided to the citizens through the winter festival. The government has always promoted tourism, culture and heritage and the colors of the culture of Pakistan, especially Punjab, are prominent in the Winter Festival, he said. I congratulate the DG PHA and the organizers for organizing the wonderful Winter Festival, CM added. DG PHA Zeeshan Javed briefed the Chief Minister about the colorful events of the Winter Festival. Deputy Commissioner Lahore Muhammad Ali, Chairman PHA Yasir Gilani and concerned officials were also present.