LAHORE: The Punjab government has approved a massive scheme to improve child health across the province. In the first phase, the Child Nutrition and Stunting Reduction Programme will be launched in 11 districts of southern Punjab and later expanded to other districts.
The scheme was approved by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday while chairing a meeting of the provincial steering committee.
Speaking at the meeting, the CM said an effective mechanism had been evolved keeping in view the mother and child health for the implementation of the programme. “All available resources will be utilised for the health care of the mother and child,” he added.
Shehbaz instructed the officials to coordinate and discharge their responsibilities in an effective manner to make the programme a success. He said immediate steps must be taken to resolve the issue of stunting and conventional thinking and attitudes would have to be changed. All departments will act in close coordination and effective awareness campaign should be launched.
The chief minister also reviewed the progress on the annual development programme for the financial year 2016-17 at a high-level meeting, where the planning and development chairman, provincial ministers Manshaullah Butt, Malik Kamran Nadeem, Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha, MNA Hamza Shehbaz, Senator Masood Majid, Adviser Dr Omar Saif, Dr Aijaz Nabi, chief secretary and secretaries of the concerning departments were also present.
Shehbaz directed the authorities to utilise the development funds transparently and expedite the pace of work. “People can get benefits of development projects initiated by the government if the development funds earmarked for these projects are utilised in time and in a transparent manner.”
He maintained billions of rupees were being spent on development projects in southern Punjab. “The work on the biggest development programme in Punjab is in progress at a cost of Rs550 billion to provide facilities to the people,” he added.
Shehbaz said schemes to improve living standard of the people have been included in the annual development programme, while education, health, agriculture, water and other sectors have been given priority.
He said billion of rupees have been spent on megaprojects in South Punjab and all departments were playing their role in the transparent spending of funds. He stressed for early completion of projects in South Punjab.
He warned the officials that delay in completion of projects will not be tolerated and effective monitoring of the development projects will continue.
Shehbaz said effective steps were being taken to restore ineffective water supply schemes. He said network of roads had been established in rural areas under the Khadam-e-Punjab Rural Roads Programme in order to facilitate the villagers.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2017.
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