Govt taking solid steps to fulfill promises made with people: CM Buzdar

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar

LAHORE, Sep 02 (APP):Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on completion of two years of PTI government, said the government was taking solid steps to fulfil the promises made with the people.

Some projects had been completed while work was in progress on others speedily, he added.

Addressing a ceremony with regard to Punjab government’s two years performance, held at at 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam here, the Chief Minister said that despite challenges, the province presented a progressive and pro-business budget and it was not possible to present a better budget than it in these circumstances. Taxes had been increased in every year budget but the PTI government abolished taxes in a new financial year or reduced their ratio, he added.

He said that trade, industry and health sectors were affected due to coronavirus as Rs 106 billion were allocated for it in the new financial year. This included Rs 56 billion tax relief and direct expenditures worth Rs 50 billion, he said and added that despite difficult circumstances, an additional five billion rupees were provided for development projects.

Buzdar said that share of local governments was enhanced to 10 per cent and frozen local government funds were also restored. The school education budget had been increased to 382 billion rupees and the government was committed to set up a university in every district and seven universities were being set up, he said and added that the government was giving attention to human resource development and it was also committed to creating job opportunities by promoting the construction industry.

The CM said that financial transparency and merit in administrative matters was a priority and Ehsaas Kafalat Program was a unique initiative to alleviate poverty.

He said that establishment of southern Punjab secretariat was part of the PTI manifesto and the promise had been fulfilled. Additional Chief Secretary and Additional IG had been appointed besides posting secretaries for departments and 33 per cent development funds had been allocated for southern Punjab, he added.

He said that Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project was the largest mega project in the country and its utility could not be denied, adding, this project would economically boost Pakistan.

He said that work had been started on 13 special economic zones as the federal government had issued notification for six SEZs. Notification of 7 zones would be issued soon and the historic package had been given for the construction industry’s development, he added.

Meanwhile, he said, changes had been introduced in LDA by-laws and construction of high-rise buildings had been allowed. He said that work was in progress on Naya Pakistan Housing Program and clean water project was being started with two billion rupees under Aab Pak Authority.

He said that ease of doing business had been arranged for investors and one window cells and E-khidmat centres had been established.

Usman Buzdar said Rs 20 billion were earmarked for soft loans under PSIC. The government was providing training to one lac students every year under TEVTA.

Around 2200 kilometre roads were constructed in villages under Naya Pakistan Manzalain Asaan Program, he said, adding, this scheme would continue this year and development projects would be formulated in consultation with public representatives after the restoration of local governments’ funds.

He said that the new local government act had been approved and promulgated. Now local government heads would be elected directly.

The Chief Minister said that small farmers were being given loans through e-credit scheme and work was continued to introduce new seeds for more productivity. Funds of Rs 1.25 billion were allocated to overcome locust attack which was a big threat however it was eliminated from more than 8 lac hectares area, he added.

He said the government had launched construction of Jalalpur and Greater Thal Canal systems to irrigate around 8 lac acre land. The study was being conducted for the construction of 4 small dams in Koh-e-Suleman area and upgradation of Khanki Barrage, Jinnah Barrage, Punjnad and other barrages was completed. Meanwhile, work on upgradation of Upper Jhelum Canal and DG Khan Canal was in progress, he added.

He said that 99 per cent payments were made to sugarcane farmers as the cabinet had approved amendments in sugarcane act and mills would be fined up to Rs 5 million for non-payment to farmers.

Usman Buzdar said that Sehat Insaf Card Scheme had been introduced in all the districts which would benefit 7 million families and 35 million needy people. He said that 30,000 merit-based recruitments had been made in the health sector and 6 new hospitals comprising 3500 beds were being constructed in different districts.

The government had enhanced 12000 beds in existing hospitals and the construction and expansion of different hospitals was in progress in different districts. Meanwhile, he said, first bone marrow transplant centre was being set up in Bahawalpur and the 600-bed hospital was being set up in Lahore. Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology had been completed and Haseeb Shaheed Hospital had also been completed in Faisalabad, he added.

He said that special allowance had been approved for engineers along with doctors and new service structure was being designed for nurses.

The corona test facility had been increased to 17,000 daily and a historic decision had been made to make Urdu as a medium of instruction in primary level and teaching of English as a subject.

He said that e-transfer policy for teachers yielded positive results and Insaf Afternoon Schools had been set up in 22 districts. He said that 1272 schools had been upgraded without spending a penny. Seven universities were being set up and 4500 CTIs’ recruitments had been completed. New teachers would be recruited on the pattern of CTIs, he added.

The CM said that 130 meetings of the cabinet and cabinet standing committees were held and decisions were made on 1929 agenda items.

He said that Punjab Assembly during its two year tenure approved 58 bills of public welfare and issued 25 new ordinances. Punjab Assembly passed 38 basic laws and done more legislation as compared to other provincial assemblies.

He said that 10,000 new recruitments in Punjab police had been approved and 550 new vehicles had been purchased for the Police department while 45 new police stations were being constructed whereas land for 101 police stations had been identified. He said that Cabinet approved executive allowance for the Police department and scope of model police stations was being extended.

Similarly, he said, under Rescue 1122, scope of motorcycle ambulance service would be extended to all districts of the province. Services of rescue 1122 were being taken at tehsil level. He said that it was the PTI government which realised and had given a service structure for the employees of Rescue 1122 after 15 years.

He said that 92 shelter homes had been constructed in all major cities of the province including Lahore. Panahgah Authority would be established, he said, adding that 10 more shelter homes would be established in Lahore in the rental buildings.

He said 137 day care centres had been established for facilitating the working women throughout the province.

He said that revolutionary measures had been taken for bringing reforms in jail sector.
Usman Buzdar said that he personally visited 8 jails of different cities and inspected the condition of the prisoners.

He said the Punjab government had paid fines of Rs 280 million and got released 1000 prisoners. He said that reforms were being introduced in 167 years old jail manual as prisoners would get relief after implementing parole and probation act.

Work was being carried out on different 1300 under completion developmental project, he added.

Usman Buzdar stated that he made visits to Balochistan for promoting inter-provincial harmony and announced developmental projects worth billion of rupees in Turbat, Taftaan and Makraan. He said a hospital would also be established in Turbat.

He said that work was being carried out on the projects of alternative energy sources to get rid of expensive electricity and energy crisis. Work on off-grid solution in Cholistan and Thal was under process. Project of clean and green Pakistan was being carried out successfully, he added.

He said that 20-kg flour bag was being sold at the rate of Rs 860 in Punjab. Scope of double decker buses would be extended for promoting tourism in the province, he said and added that Punjab Public Private Partnership Authority had been established and 28 development projects of worth Rs 144 billion had been approved.

A time bar of three to four months would be fixed for starting PPP projects, he added.
The Chief Minister said foundation stone of construction of Rawalpindi Ring Road, Nullah Lai Express Way, SL-III Ring Road, Sheikhupura-Gujranwala Road would soon be laid.

He said that Land Record System was being made easier and 20 mobile vans had been purchased, adding, number of Land Record Centres was also being increased.

He said that first underground water tank had been constructed to store rainy water in Lahore. Underground water sewage system would be extended gradually in divisions and later at district level.

Usman Buzdar said that Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project would be started by October. He said the PTI government did not stop work on this project. Subsidy had to be given on this project, he added.

He said that 13 national parks had been established in Punjab. Solid Waste Management Authority had been established in Dera Ghazi Khan as well. Soon this authority would be made active in other divisions as well, he added.

He said that best cleanliness arrangements were made on Eid-ul-Azha.
Reforms were being introduced for making cooperative Bank more effective for which a chairman had been appointed, he added.

He said that a comprehensive plan had been evolved by the Auqaf department for the renovation of shrines of religious personalities throughout the province.

He said that state land worth billions of rupees got vacated from the ‘qabza mafia’.
He said the government wanted coverage of Sehat Insaf Card in Punjab like KPK. He said that on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Punjab government wanted to provide Sehat Insaf Card to every citizen of Punjab under phase wise program.

Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar also answered the questions of senior columnists, journalists and anchorpersons.

In response to a question, Usman Buzdar said that prices of essential commodities were far less than other provinces and most of the edibles were available on the government fixed price.

Usman Buzdar said that he personally inspected the prices of essential items on regular basis and issued instructions. Price control authority was being established to cope with price-hiking in Punjab on permanent basis, he added.

He said that new courses of technical vocational training had been introduced for generating job opportunities in the province. Poor people were a centre point of government’s policies as it was struggling for their welfare and betterment.

To another question, Usman Buzdar said that he personally came into field for solving the problems of Lahore. He said that 57 point agenda would be implemented for solving civic problems.

He said that 2200 wardens were being recruited in Lahore and there was a need to set traffic system on right pattern. He said that traffic management system harmonized with latest demands would be introduced in Lahore.

A comprehensive campaign would be launched for eradicating the encroachments from the city. Action would be taken against those who sold birds after catching them.
He said that trees would be planted in Lahore on larger scale and work on urban forest station in the city had been started.

Replying to another question, Usman Buzdar said that he appeared before NAB when he received a notice.

Provincial Minister for Finance Hashim Jawan Bakht gave a detailed review of two years performance of Punjab government. Provincial Minister for Information Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan expressed views on the major success of the Punjab government.

Provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants, chief secretary, IG Police, secretaries and other officers were also present on this occasion.