Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif approved a series of development projects worth billions of rupees under a large city and district package on Friday.
The chief minister (CM) also announced a Southern Punjab Development Programme (SPDP) which is to include several mega projects related to infrastructure, education, health, sewerage and drainage.
The CM announced the new packages during a meeting which lasted for over four hours and also reviewed a detailed time chart for the implementation of development packages and the SPDP.
Sharif said that maximum resources were being utilised for the provision of basic amenities to the masses and for the development of the province.
“A record number of development projects have been completed during the last three-and-a-half years and special attention is being paid to underdeveloped areas,” he said.
The CM said that he was working to bring remote areas of the province at par with developed cities and several development schemes were being completed in this regard.
“The Punjab government has proven its ability to complete development projects on time and in a transparent manner. This policy is being implemented throughout the province and every penny spent is accounted for,” he added.
The meeting discussed dozens of projects regarding agriculture, education, health and infrastructure that had been initiated and completed in 11 districts of the province under the SPDP initiative over the last year.
“I have ordered that all pending work be completed speedily and efficiently as well,” he said. The CM said that separate funds should be allocated for development and non-developmental expenditure under districts development programme during the current financial year and district coordination committees would be responsible for monitoring these activities to ensure that the funds allocated for development projects were spent efficiently.
“Supplying clean drinking water to the people is of utmost importance and we are working to ensure this in areas where sewage and other issues have compromised the water supply,” he said.
“During the monsoon season, completing all water-related projects is of utmost importance. In the case of other development projects, these will be decided on a priority basis after consultation with elected representatives of various districts,” he said.
Sharif directed that development schemes under special packages for Chiniot, Sargodha and Mandi Bahuddin be completed as soon as possible.
He said Parks and Horticulture Authorities should be set up in all major cities to improve the overall ambiance, adding that comprehensive planning should be made for the construction of parking plazas in major cities to streamline the flow of traffic.
“I have recommended the setting up of a ‘public facilitation centre’ for the provision of all government department facilities under one roof.
The Gujranwala commissioner introduced the idea in a meeting and it would greatly help facilitate the public,” he said, adding “this will be launched as a pilot project in two or three cities.”
The chief minister directed divisional commissioners to remain alert for coping with the damages to be caused by possible flood and rains this year.
“No effort should be spared in protecting the life and property of the people and providing relief to the flood victims in case of any emergency,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.