Senate panel stresses more funds for south Punjab

Published: February 16, 2019


LAHORE: Chairman Standing Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar stressed the allocation of additional funds for less developed areas of the country.

Talking to the media after chairing a meeting at the Punjab Planning and Development office on Friday, he said the committee members visited less developed areas of South Punjab and met representatives of a cross section of society, including lawyers and traders. “We felt that these areas were ignored during the last 71 years.”

Kakar said these areas had rich resources but poverty, ignorance, and health problems were on the rise in these parts of the country. He urged the federal and the provincial government to allocate more funds for such areas than the funds allocated for developed areas. “It is the responsibility of all departments to make such programmes and policies that could resolve issues of farmers and traders besides resolving problems about education, health, and others,” he added.

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He stressed a separate province for people of South Punjab so that they could resolve their problems properly. Kakar also stressed the preservation and development of local languages in the country. He said that all local languages, including Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtu, Balochi, and Seraiki should be declared national languages.

He said that the committee would raise problems of the less developed areas in the report to be filed in parliament. He said that share of the provinces in the NFC Award should be based on the needs of the provinces.

The committee members expressed great concern over the absence of the Punjab chief secretary from the meeting. Other members of the committee, including Senator Gian Chand, Senator M Ayyub Afreedi, Senator Kalsoom Parveen and Senator Sardar M Shafiq Tareen, were also present. Earlier, P&D Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani briefed the committee about less developed areas of South Punjab.

The committee also discussed several issues of four districts of South Punjab, including Rajanpur, Layyah, Lodharan and Muzaffargarh. The secretaries and heads of different departments attended the meeting.

Standing committee meeting

Meanwhile, the meeting of the standing committee on finance and development of the Punjab cabinet held at Chief Minister’s Office on Friday.

Provincial Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht and Minister for Trade and Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal jointly presided over the meeting on behalf of the chief minister. The meeting deliberated upon 23-point agenda and discussed financial and administrative matters pertaining to different development schemes.

The meeting decided that ongoing development schemes will be completed on a priority basis and 1,838 ongoing schemes will be completed under the prime minister’s global sustainable development goals. It also discussed the possibility of lifting the ban on recruitment for development projects.

The ministers said that public welfare projects are an important priority of the government.

The committee agreed upon conditional permission of lifting the ban on recruitment of professionals in the special education department and also reviewed various matters relating to the ban on recruitment in public sector universities and educational boards of the province.

Higher Education Department Secretary Momin Ali Agha briefed the meeting about vacant vacancies in public sector universities and educational boards of the province.

The meeting decided that renovation and repair and maintenance of government hospitals, across the province, will be completed early keeping in view the commitment of providing better healthcare facilities to the people.

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Bakht said that public interest should be given importance in the completion of health-related schemes. “No delay will be tolerated in this regard.”

The committee directed that the projects of construction of tehsil sports complexes should be completed on a priority basis. It said that a foolproof mechanism should also be devised for their proper care.

Discussing the bailout package for Gujranwala Development Authority, Iqbal directed that WASAs should improve their recovery-related matters so that the people could be provided better and trouble-free services.

Development schemes of different cities, including Dear Ghazi Khan, Taunsa Sharif, Sialkot, Bahawalpur, and Kasur were also discussed in the meeting and Apna Ghar project was given in-principle approval.

The meeting also approved the holding of international buffalo conference and national livestock and buffalo show.

With additional input from APP 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2019.

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