RAWALPINDI, July 13: Punjab government has directed the divisional administration to ensure austerity measures in all four districts of Rawalpindi as the province was facing poor fiscal situation and it wanted to spend the money saved through the measures on public welfare projects.

In an instruction letter to divisional commissioner on Friday, the provincial finance department imposed a ban on purchase of new vehicles, holding official functions in private hotels, decoration of government offices as well as the use of air-conditioners.

It also directed to send minimum requests for supplementary grants to the local government.

However, it said, the provincial government would approve a supplementary grant if it was unavoidable after seeking special approval from Punjab chief minister.

The government has imposed a ban on the use of air-conditioners in the district offices from 8am to 11am and curtailed the utility bills for telephone to Rs800 per month.

For curtailing petroleum expenditures, the departments had been asked to ensure economical use of official vehicles within the ceiling fixed for the purpose.

The district administrations would have to take permission from the chief minister for holding function in the private hotels. They would not be allowed to hire contingent paid staff without the permission of CM Secretariat.

The finance department said that the ban on procurement of machinery and equipments would not apply on machinery and equipment required for dengue, anti-polio and other health-related campaigns.

The ban will also not apply for the procurement of furniture for educational institutions worth Rs500, 000.

When contacted, Commissioner Imdadullah Bosal said the provincial government issued the instructions for the austerity measures to be adopted at all the four districts of Rawalpindi during the fiscal year 2012-13.

He said the divisional administration had sent the instructions to the district coordination officers for implementation.

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