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Punjab cabinet gives go-ahead to local govt, water acts

Updated April 20, 2019

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Growth strategy again omitted from otherwise marathon agenda. — Dawn Newspaper/File
Growth strategy again omitted from otherwise marathon agenda. — Dawn Newspaper/File

LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet on Friday took up a 34-point updated agenda in its eighth meeting at Chief Minister’s Secretariat and gave a go-ahead to different legislative matters including proposed Punjab Local Government Act 2019 and Water Act 2019.

Both proposed acts will now be tabled in the Punjab Assembly for legislation.

The proposed Punjab Local Government Act 2019 was also presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan during his Lahore visit last week and he had given his consent. Through the Water Act 2019, a water resource commission would be established with chief minister as its chairman.

The Punjab cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, however, could not discuss the Punjab Growth Strategy 2023 as the subject was again taken out of the agenda at the eleventh hour. Sources say it also reflected in the cabinet’s previous two meetings’ agenda but was withdrawn at the eleventh hour.

The chief minister had himself visited the Planning and Development (P&D) Board on Wednesday, taken a briefing and approved the draft.

Growth strategy again omitted from otherwise marathon agenda

Punjab Information Minister Samsam Bukhari, while briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, remarked: “Punjab will surely grow.”

Referring to a long list of agenda items of the cabinet meeting, Mr Bukhari said the cabinet had decided to meet every fortnight to be able to discuss shorter agenda at length. He said the cabinet approved granting DG Khan’s tribal area Koh Suleman the status of tehsil as well as approved quota for the DG Khan and Rajanpur tribal areas’ residents in the Ghazi Medical College in DG Khan.

The cabinet approved the Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act 2019 as well as given a go-ahead to close down five public sector companies created by the PML-N government in the health department. Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid told the cabinet that the remaining public sector companies’ performance was being monitored.

The meeting approved temporary regulations 2019 under regulatory steps for immediate eradication of dengue. The cabinet also approved closing down the South Punjab Forest Company.

The information minister said the cabinet approved releasing Rs10 billion for the government guarantee and debt authority in favour of the Punjab Thermal Power Pvt. Ltd. The Punjab Witness Protection Act 2018 was approved and a witness protection board would be constituted under this Act. Amendment to the Punjab e-Stamp Papers Rules 2016 was given approval as well.

The cabinet meeting approved the financing of population welfare program Punjab 2017-20 through public sector development program and funds were also approved for devolved vertical programs of health and population welfare sectors.

Mr Bukhari said the cabinet approved Ramazan Package 2019 through which 309 bazaars would be set up across the province and around 2,000 dastarkhawans would be arranged during the holy month.

Answering a question, he said much bigger subsidy would be given compared to that of previous years to ensure relief for the general public not only in Ramazan bazaars but in the open markets as well.

The meeting approved transfer of land for 720-megawatt Karot Power Project and affairs pertaining to the royalty of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas according to the market value were also approved.

The cabinet accorded approval to the Punjab Animal Health Bill 2019. It approved amendments to the benevolent fund rules for reconsideration of eligibility criteria of monthly grants and increase in grant money.

The cabinet meeting accorded approval to appoint Talib Rizvi new president of the Bank of Punjab as well as approved appointment of the Board of Directors’ members of the Parks & Horticulture Authority, Faisalabad.

The cabinet approved the establishment of the Punjab University of Technology at Rasul in Mandi Bahauddin.

The cabinet meeting was attended by provincial ministers, advisers, special assistants, chief secretary, IG police and provincial secretaries.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019