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PESHAWAR, June 19: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to establish new testing laboratories and activate all the existing ones under the respective departments to curb the business of spurious medicines, adulteration in edibles and use of substandard materials in construction of public sector development schemes.

Besides, public transport vehicles will be properly checked and the unfit ones banned from plying on the roads.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak issued directives in this regard to the respective departments while presiding over a high-level meeting here on Wednesday. Officials of various departments, including health, food, transport, and communication and works, attended the meeting.

The participants discussed in detail various matters related to these laboratories and a number of important decisions were taken. The chief minister directed the police authorities to expedite the process of establishing forensic laboratories in the province so that forensic test of evidences of bomb blasts and other such matters could be done swiftly at a local level.

Mr Khattak said that the provincial government would provide whatever support was needed to activate and strengthen these laboratories. However, he directed the authorities concerned that they must ensure that work in the laboratories was up to the mark and the results were seen on ground.

Provincial minister Shaukat Yousafzai, Yousaf Ayub, CM’s advisor Qalandar Lodhi and high officials of the departments attended the meeting. It decided that the sample of medicines would be tested from two laboratories at a time i.e. a government laboratory and private one in order to ensure transparency.

The meeting also decided to set up laboratories of the health department at divisional level while personnel of special branch police would be deputed at these labs to keep a check on unlawful activities and malpractices of the staff.

Mr Khattak showed dissatisfaction over the overall performance of testing laboratories working under the health and food departments, and directed their authorities to streamline functions of respective laboratories as soon as possible.

The meeting decided to set up a full-fledged laboratory under the communication and works department for testing materials being used in construction work of development projects of the government. It decided that payment to government contractors would be subject to laboratory test of the construction work. It also decided that mobile laboratories would be provided to police at divisional level.

An official, who attended the meeting, told Dawn that the government had taken serious notice of the smoke-emitting vehicles and fake food items, which were easily available in the market.

“We have to follow the government directives, but for this purpose we need security and some other resources. We have discussed our issues with the relevant authorities for their solution otherwise action will not be possible,” the official said.

About removal of the decades old vehicles from roads, the source said that it was a very difficult task because the transport mafia would not succumb to the pressure so easily.