LAHORE: As promised by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Punjab government has taken practical step to solve problems of the people from the southern part of the province, said Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Addressing a post-cabinet meeting press conference here on Tuesday, Mr Buzdar said the meeting approved amendments to the Punjab Government Rules of Business 2011, empowering the bureaucracy in the south to solve people’s problems locally.
The amendments clearly defined powers of the south Punjab additional chief secretary (ACS), secretaries and departments. The south side, the CM said, would include Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Khanewal, Layyah, Lodhran, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur and Vehari.
Flanked by representatives from the region, including provincial Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht and Livestock Minister Hasnain Bahadar Dreshak, the CM reminded the media: “Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised south Punjab province that was also part of the PTI manifesto. Today, practical steps have been taken towards it.”
CM says 17 depts being moved to the south; ACS to have powers to transfer BPS-17 officers
Dilating upon the amendments, he said 17 departments were being moved to the south and the secretaries would be fully empowered administratively and the ACS (south Punjab) has been given powers to transfer Grade 17 officers. He has also been given the authority to approve budgets and provide funds to the commissioners, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners.
The ACS is authorised to write annual confidential reports of secretaries, who will enjoy all powers of promotions, transfers and recruitments given to their counterparts in the northern part of the province. The heads of autonomous bodies, boards, authorities and companies will be answerable to the secretaries, he added. A 33 per cent budget, amounting to Rs190 billion, has been reserved for the south.
Answering a question on law and order, the CM said the government had solved heinous crime cases. “I issued directions to the police after taking notice of such cases and some policemen were also removed from their posts, he said.
The approval of rules of business for the south Punjab secretariat was a historic step to solve problems at the grassroots and the public will not have to visit Lahore for the purpose. “Prime Minister Imran Khan will soon lay the foundation stone for the south secretariat in Bahawalpur,” he added.
Mr Bakht said they worked day and night to formulate the rules of business, adding that this step will remove deprivations and public problems will be resolved at their doorsteps.
Earlier, the 47th provincial cabinet meeting approved amendments to the rules of business. The south Punjab secretariat will comprise three divisions, 11 districts and 17 government departments with complete administrative authority to the south Punjab ACS and secretaries.
The meeting also approved outsourcing of government rest/guest houses. The Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab would be allowed to give government rest/guest houses on a 20-year lease with the option of a 10-year extension.
The cabinet also approved the establishment of Punjab Commission for Illegal Housing Societies headed by retired Justice Azmat Saeed. Matters about the issuance of fitness certificates for transport vehicles were approved along with the decision to amend Punjab Pension Fund and Punjab General Provident Investment Fund’s Act.
Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2021