After facing a backlash for raising fuel prices by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led (PML-N) government, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz has decided to abolish the petroleum allowance of the provincial cabinet members and sought details of fuel expenditures of all provincial departments.
He was presiding over a meeting during which it was decided that the chief minister and members of the provincial cabinet would bear the fuel expenses themselves while carrying out their official duties.
The meeting took decisions regarding government savings, fertiliser supply and prices of essential commodities. The participants reportedly opposed a proposal to export sugar.
Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz said all possible steps would be taken to provide economic relief to the people
It was decided that a crackdown against those who hoarded fertilisers and essential commodities would be intensified.
Provincial Ministers Salman Rafique, Sardar Awais Leghari, Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan, Atta Ullah Tarar, MPA Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Zeeshan Rafique and senior officials attended the meeting. Earlier, the CM summoned district administration and WASA officials over public complaints of water scarcity and also pointed out flaws in their action plan.
He expressed displeasure over the ignorance of the WASA MD regarding operational tube wells.
He enquired from WASA officials about their backup plan if a tube well stopped working. He also asked about the number of tube wells of two cusecs capacity.The participants decided to conduct third-party audit of ongoing WASA projects. Chief Minister Hamza ordered completion of the surface water treatment project as soon as possible and said that it would not only benefit one million people immediately but also eliminate the need for 100 tube wells.
He said underground tanks should be constructed in the areas facing water scarcity and details of a pilot project should be presented soon.
The CM ordered immediate action against theft of diesel from vehicles.
He said the water table of Lahore had gone down, so new tube wells should be installed only in case of urgent need. Timing of water supply should be fixed while keeping in view the requirement of consumers.
The chief minister urged public representatives to create awareness with regard to efficient use of water and check its wastage.
He issued directives to ensure water supply in areas experiencing low pressure and in the suburban areas.
He also said that legal issues obstructing the completion of the Haji Camp Drain Project should be resolved immediately.
The chief minister also ordered an inquiry into the eruption of a fire in the pharmacy of the Children Hospital and sought a report from the provincial health secretary about the incident.
He issued directives for the submission of a report after an investigation into the fire incident from every aspect. He called for ascertaining the reasons behind the fire eruption and stern action against those found responsible for negligence.
The chief minister also took notice of firing on journalists of Multan Press Club and sought a report from the regional police officer (RPO). He ordered early arrest of those involved in the firing.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2022.
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