RAWALPINDI: Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs Caretaker Minister Syed Azfar Ali Nasir on Thursday directed Auqaf Department to install cameras to monitor cash boxes at 72 shrines – managed by the department – across the Rawalpindi district and submit a report to the ministry by the end of this month.
The caretaker minister issued these directives during a meeting held at the Commissioner’s Office and attended by the commissioner, deputy commissioners, and other officials.
According to officials, Auqaf Department has 107 properties, including shrines, mosques and waqf land. Some of these properties were in the name of the department, while a committee was established to get the rest of the properties transferred in the name of the department. They said that after completing the process, the income generated from the shrines would be increased which would be spent on security and other facilities for the visitors.
During the meeting, the minister also asked Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) to complete the de-silting of all drains by June 30 in light of the imminent monsoon season. Wasa Managing Director Muhammad Tanveer said preparations have been completed in light of the monsoon.
Ahead of monsoon season, Leh Nullah and other drains to be cleaned by June 30
He said that the Punjab government released funds for the cleaning of Leh Nullah and 11 other drains in the garrison city. “The work is going on from Katarian Bridge to Murree Road which will be completed by June 30,” he assured.
The official claimed the cleaning work was being done with the help of “modern winch machines for the first time”. He added during the monsoon season, leaves of the field staff would remain cancelled and staffers would be working round the clock to prevent inundation.
“Five flood response units will be set up in the city at Liaquat Bagh, Moti Mahal, Commercial Market, Sardar Bagh, and Khayaban-i-Sir Syed where heavy machinery and field staff would be present. Wasa has heavy machinery including jetting and scrubber machines, dewatering sets, winch machines and water bowsers,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, the caretaker minister said that on the special instructions of the chief minister, the performance of government departments was being evaluated. During this time, efforts will be made to solve the problems faced by the government departments so that there is no hindrance in public welfare works. He said that the government hoped to improve individual performance through effective monitoring.
On this occasion, the commissioner said that the work on mega projects was going on at a rapid pace. He added the consultant hiring process for Rawalpindi Ring Road has also been completed.
The minister also instructed the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner to launch an operation to eradicate encroachments. The meeting was informed that anti-encroachment operations have been launched in eight major bazaars in Rawalpindi with the support of traders.
The provincial minister said that reforms were also being brought to minimise the use of shopping bags – bags weighing less than 75 grams will be banned and recycling of plastic bags would be encouraged.
The meeting was informed 417 filtration plants have been made “functional” in the Rawalpindi division.
Similarly, the upgradation of the Pirwadhai General Bus Stand was near completion which would provide the “best travel facility” to passengers, as per the briefing given to the minister.
Furthermore, Rawalpindi’s Slaughter House, IT Hub, Gymkhana, GT Road beautification project, and projects regarding small dams and graveyards were also in progress.
A 50-bed rehab centre has been set up at Wah General Hospital, which provides free facilities to drug addicts.
While giving a briefing about the colleges, the minister was informed that 16,000 plants have been planted in different colleges in a plantation campaign. Also, divisional public schools on the pattern of Rawalpindi have been started in Attock and Jhelum districts, it added.
Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2023