Provincial cabinet amends rules to make South Punjab secretariat functional

Updated 14 Aug 2020

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The 34th meeting of the cabinet was held with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair. — Punjab CM Twitter/File
The 34th meeting of the cabinet was held with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair. — Punjab CM Twitter/File

LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet approved here on Thursday amended rules of business of the provincial government making way for functioning of the south Punjab secretariat.

The 34th meeting of the cabinet held with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair, also approved amending the Factory Act to penalise the sugar mills not starting crushing season at officially notified schedule or paying the growers less than the official rates.

With amendments to the rules of business, 2011, secretaries of 16 provincial departments will perform their duties at the southern Punjab secretariat, which will be administratively fully empowered so that people of the region won’t have to travel to Lahore for solution to their problems.

Amendments to the Punjab Sugar Factory (Control) Act, 1950 will authorise the government to fine the mills failing to start crushing from the notified date. It will also bind the mills to write down the weight of sugarcane purchased by them along with price and date on a valid receipt. The farmers will be paid according to the notified rate and through banks.

Act to be amended to penalise sugar mills for violating crushing schedule

The cabinet rejected the excise department’s proposal of re-assessing the property values to increase [property] tax as Mian Aslam Iqbal and Fayyaz Chohan reportedly opposed the move, arguing that increasing tax ratio during already high inflation would offend the people.

It decided to extend the date of online registration of charities up to Oct 15 and approved amendments to the Punjab E-Stamp Rules, 2016 for a refund of e-stamp papers. Commissioners were authorised for a refund of stamp papers up to Rs500,000.

The cabinet also granted approval to the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency to start housing schemes across the province under the PM Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.

It also approved the first Special Education Policy, 2019 after a gap of 17 years.

The establishment of South Punjab Institute of Science and Technology, Dera Ghazi Khan, and giving the status of the University of Jhang to Lahore College for Women University’s Jhang Sub-Campus were also given a green signal.

The meeting decided to close anti-terrorism courts having fewer cases in the light of directions of the Supreme Court. Two each courts of Lahore and Gujranwala divisions and one each of Rawalpindi and Multan division will be closed under this decision.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2020