LAHORE: Following action against land grabbers, the Punjab government has decided to end exploitation by private hospitals and educational institutions.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Saturday directed authorities concerned to form special task forces to check facilities being offered to the common man at private hospitals and educational institutions. "Private hospitals, schools and colleges cannot be allowed to exploit people anymore."
The chief minister highlighted that these task forces would inspect all facilities, including teaching faculty, admission policy, fee structure, and tariffs and services being offered by private hospitals. The government would take necessary measures in light of the reports submitted by these task forces, he said. He added that the government would regulate private hospitals and educational institutions to improve the quality of service for citizens.
The chief minister underscored that the provision of the best health and educational facilities were the basic responsibility of the government. The Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is committed to revamping the health and education sectors of the province. Standardised health and educational facilities at affordable prices were the basic rights of the people, he maintained.
He went on to say that the government would also review the entry test system of engineering universities and medical colleges and make some decision after a detailed briefing on entry tests of professional colleges. "Plundering in the name of preparation of entry tests will not be allowed. Fool-proof examination arrangements will be made at educational boards by curbing malpractices."
"We are taking these steps to improve quality of service and facilities for common citizens. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, transparency level has been improved. It will encourage investment, enhance trust which will ultimately pay back in the form of development of the country and new employment opportunities," he said. He added that a favourable environment was being created in Punjab for investment.
Earlier, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (ECP) has tightened the noose around the private hospital and educational institutions for their excessive charges and poor quality services and now the government has decided to launch an action against them.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, several citizens complained that private hospitals are charging exorbitantly high fees from children. A citizen, Mehmood Hussain, pointed out that for minor medical help, for instance, administering an injection or drip, private hospitals charge thousands of rupees. "On the other day, the Chief Justice of Pakistan heard from patients that private hospital are charging Rs200,000 to Rs250,000 for installing stunts despite the clear direction of the apex court that medical facility can charge above Rs100,000 for stunting," he said. He added that the government should take strict action against private hospital besides revamping public health infrastructure in the province.
Similar complaints were made by parents of school and college students. A mother, Sadaf Anees, said private schools are charging excessive fees from parents, but despite that have failed to provide quality education. "The entire focus of private educational institutes is on coining new ways to mint money from parents. Earlier, a student used to complete his education in Rs500,000 to Rs600,000, but now he reaches in grade-1 after making payment of the similar amount to private schools, which is very unfortunate."
She further said that the court has a clear verdict that private schools cannot increase their fees beyond a set percentage, but hardly any private school is following the court's order. "To deceive the court, management of private schools have put additional fee under the head of air-conditioning and other similar heads. If parents try to talk to school management they ask us them to withdraw their children."
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