LAHORE: The Provincial Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution barring private schools from raising fees on the pretext of improving security.
Of the five resolutions tabled in the assembly, the House approved three, rejected one and the one was withdrawn by its mover. The session on Tuesday was dedicated to private members.
Amir Sultan Cheema moved a resolution calling upon the government to stop private schools from raising fees over security expenses. He said action should be taken against school principals charging additional fees. The resolution was approved.
The House also approved a resolution tabled by Alia Aftab. It called for declaring a blood test mandatory for all six-month pregnant women.
Kiran Dar moved a resolution demanding that the government deploy women labour inspectors at industrial zones to safeguard women workers’ rights. The resolution was carried.
Wasim Akhtar had tabled a resolution urging the government to exempt owners of five-marla houses in katchi abadis from property tax. He withdrew it after Law Minister Mujtaba Shuja Rehman informed him that such houses were already exempted from the tax.
The government did not endorse a resolution, moved by Sardar Vikas Hassan Mokal, for passing on the benefits of reduction in oil prices to the common man. The minister said the government had already taken steps to provide relief to people in this regard.
Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Minister Tanvir Aslam admitted that 26 government departments had defaulted on the payment of Rs250 million to the Water and Sanitation Agency’s (Wasa). These included the Parks and Horticulture Authority, Police and Irrigation, Auqaf and Health Departments.
He said Wasa would recover the amount with the help of the Finance Department. He said the assembly secretariat, too, owed Rs138,674 to the Wasa. However, Acting Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani denied this saying that the secretariat had paid the amount in January-February.
Responding to a query by Arshad Ansari, the minister said there was a shortage of machinery at the Faisalabad Wasa. He said the government would arrange the equipment by the start of 2016.
He said the Japan International Cooperation Agency had been helping the government overcome water-related problems in the city.
Responding to a query by Fauzia Ayub Qureshi, Aslam said that in 2006-07 the government had completed a water supply scheme in Bahawalpur’s Maqbool, Islami and Model Colonies at a cost of Rs282.53 million.
The minister said the government had approved 51 private housing schemes across the province over the last five years. Of the 51, 29 schemes were approved by the Lahore Development Authority, 10 by the Multan Development Authority, eight by Faisalabad Development Authority, three by the Rawalpindi Development Authority and one by Gujranwala Development Authority.
He said the government had been warning citizens against unauthorised housing societies through the media.
The session was adjourned until 3pm on Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2015.