Tourism sector possesses immense untapped potential: CM

The chief minister rejected the proposal of increasing the fare of metro buses

Our Correspondent March 08, 2019
Punjab CM Usman Buzdar. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has said a comprehensive strategy to promote tourism has been formulated and the first tourism policy of the Punjab government would be announced soon.

He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting at his office on Thursday to review the performance of the Punjab Tourism Department. Buzdar said the past governments had neglected the development of the tourism sector, however, now Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was taking practical measures to promote the tourism sector. He said the draft tourism policy has been given final shape which would be soon presented before the cabinet.

The chief minister said guest houses and rest houses would be utilised for promoting tourism and 27 rest houses of the irrigation department have been opened for the people and could be booked online while other rest houses would soon be opened for the general public.

He underlined tremendous tourism opportunities in Punjab. “Fruit festival will be organised to promote agri-tourism while desert safari will be introduced in Cholistan and Thal areas. Cultural shows should also be arranged along with desert safari,” he said.

He directed the tourism department to devise and implement a comprehensive plan in this regard. The development of new tourist spots would help to promote tourism along with opening new employment opportunities, he maintained.

While presided over the meeting of cabinet standing committee on finance and development at his office, the chief minister gave the approval to grant financial aid to the legal heirs in case of death of contract employees during service. A sum of Rs1.6 million would be given to the heirs of the deceased contract employees of grade-I to grade-IV while Rs1.9 million will be given to the heirs of contract employees of grade-V to grade-X. Similarly, Rs2.2 million for contract employees of grade-11 to grade-15, Rs2.5 million for the heirs of contract employees of grade-16 and grade-17 and Rs3.4 million will be given to the heirs of contract employees of grade-18 and grade-19.

Financial aid worth Rs4 million would be provided to the heirs in case of death of contract employees of grade-20 and above.

The chief minister rejected the proposal of increasing the fare of metro buses, adding “we do not want to put any burden on the people as providing relief to the citizens is a priority of the government”. “The Punjab Masstransit Authority should look for other feasible options to enhance their resources instead of increasing the fare,” he added. The meeting also gave the approval to complete the necessary process for the recruitment of a new managing director of the Punjab Masstransit Authority.

The permission was also granted for recruitments in the digital media wing of DGPR Punjab, dengue control programme and special monitoring unit. Similarly, the operationalisation of silos for storing wheat in Dera Ghazi Khan was approved and direction was given to take immediate steps in this regard. The meeting decided to establish nursing colleges and mother and child hospitals in Attock, Bahawalnagar, Layyah, Mianwali and Rajanpur districts.

The meeting also gave approval of carpeting of bypass road in front of Faisalabad Garments City and small development project of the health department.

The meeting decided to give Rs300 million grant to WASA Rawalpindi along with the inclusion of development schemes of different provincial government departments in the next ADP. The meeting approved to establish shelter-home in Taunsa Sharif tehsil of DG Khan along with the release of funds for DHQ Hospital Chakwal.

Provincial Minister Finance Hashim Jawan Bakhat, Provincial Minister for Industry Mian Aslam Iqbal, P&D chairman, finance secretary and other officials concerned were also present in the meeting.





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