LAHORE, Nov 8: The Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2012 to further defer holding of local body polls for six months.

The electoral exercise has been kept pending since 2010 through amendments into section 179-A of the Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Act.

The house which faced the quorum issue four times during the proceedings until it was prorogued sine die by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal, also approved the establishment of Metro Bus Authority to regulate the operation of the new urban transportation system in major cities of the province, rejecting all amendments suggested by the opposition.

With the chief minister as its chairman, the body will comprise 11 members, including secretaries of transport and finance, Planning and Development chairman, two members each from the Punjab Assembly and the National Assembly and three eminent persons from the corporate sector.

It shall own, control, maintain and develop the MBS corridors and ancillary facilities with powers to penalise those violating provisions of the act, its rules and regulations and/or causing damage to its property.

It is also empowered to collect fares as determined by the government, grant licences to bus operators, collect and use fees, fines and all other revenues generated from the MBS infrastructure, acquire, hold and dispose of property.

The house also passed amendments to the Provincial Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1965, to exempt certain categories of buses from the route permit to be operated under the Punjab Metro Bus Authority.

The Public Sector Universities Act was also amended, allowing the government to increase retirement age for vice-chancellors from 60 to 65 years.

Rejecting the governor’s objections to ‘legislation on a federal subject’, it also passed The Punjab Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues (Amendment) Bill for the second time. The bill had been sent back to the house for reconsideration.

Seven more bills were introduced in the house, whose proceedings started one hour and 10 minutes behind schedule. The sitting witnessed two walkouts. One was staged by a PML-Q female member against the attitude of the law minister. The other was staged by the legislators of PPP and PML-Q for including bills on the agenda at the eleventh hour.

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