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Tuesday July 16, 2024

Punjab cabinet okays solar systems for 4.5m power consumers

Decision was made during meeting of Punjab cabinet on Tuesday under chairmanship of CM Maryam Nawaz

By Our Correspondent
July 10, 2024
This image shows workers installing a solar panel in Jiuquan, Gansu province. — Reuters/File
This image shows workers installing a solar panel in Jiuquan, Gansu province. — Reuters/File

LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet has approved solar systems for 4.5 million consumers who use up to 500 units of electricity. The decision was made during the 11th meeting of the Punjab cabinet, held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz.

“We are bringing solar systems to 4.5 million consumers who use up to 500 units,” said Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz. “Due to the increase in electricity bills, there is anxiety among the public. Together with my team, we have found a solution.”

The cabinet paid tribute to the chief minister for fixing flour rates for the first time in the history of Punjab. She acknowledged, “Despite not buying wheat, it is not easy to control flour prices.”

She highlighted, “I called my team immediately when the price of flour increased by Rs200. Monitoring and implementation are necessary to keep flour prices low. The food minister should spend 16 hours a day on controlling the rates of essential commodities.”

She noted, “The individual performance of the food minister is significant compared to the entire cabinet. Everyone has to move forward with hard work. In four months, Punjab’s young cabinet has shown excellent performance.”

She highlighted, “The Social Economic Registry of Punjab is starting work. Tax withdrawal for protected consumers is welcome.” She noted, “It is very important to protect the interests of the poor in the country. It should not happen that the rich become richer and the poor struggle to make ends meet.”

The cabinet also approved a notification regarding a standard version of the Holy Quran and approved the hiring of University of Health Sciences to conduct the MD CAT 2024 exam.

A new method of appointment and posting of divisional directors of education (colleges) and principals in government colleges was also approved by the cabinet, alongside the abolition of the two-year Pharmacy Assistant Course (Registration of Pharmacy Apprentices) under the Pharmacy Act, 1967. As an important initiative of the Punjab government to ensure the protection of environment, the cabinet approved an amendment to the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Ordinance 2002 under which no substandard oil can be used.

The cabinet also approved amendments to the Punjab Mining Concession Rules 2002 and the establishment of a Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate in the Department of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. The cabinet approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Punjab government and World Food Programme.

The provincial cabinet approved amendments to the Punjab Police Deputy Superintendents and Superintendents Service Rules 2020 and amendments to the Sub Inspectors and Inspectors Rules 2013. Moreover, it was approved that police officers serving in the Internal Accounts Branch will also be eligible for promotion.

The cabinet approved extending the scope of Walled City of Lahore Authority to the entire Punjab. It approved the resignation of current president of Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank Limited and the appointment of interim and permanent presidents of the institution.

The cabinet approved obtaining a 15 million euro grant for the “Green Energy Project” from KFW Development Bank, Germany, and the solarisation of schools and hospitals in the province.

The cabinet approved legislation to establish the Punjab Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (PEECA). It also approved a land erosion and livestock management project with the help of World Food and Agriculture Organisation, which will increase employment opportunities at the rural level. The cabinet also approved recruitment for the vacancies in the Digital Media Wing of DGPR.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has congratulated the students who secured top positions in the matriculation exams. While praying for the continued success of all students, the chief minister said the nation is proud of you. In her message to the matriculation position holders, she added, “Do not stop; keep moving forward; keep progressing. My prayers and best wishes are with every hardworking student.”

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Lahore after the cabinet meeting, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Azma Bokhari said the Roshan Gharana Program has been approved by the cabinet. Talking about the chief minister’s initiative for providing solar energy to 50-500 unit consumers, she said 90 percent share would be paid by the Punjab government and the remaining 10 percent by the consumers. The details of billion rupees project would be revealed to the public soon, Azma said.

The minister said the chief minister had ordered reduction in the prices of flour, potatoes, onions and other food items with zero tolerance in this regard. She further said very soon Socio-Economic Registry will start working under which the data of the beneficiaries would be collected and they would be able to benefit from the subsidies and relief given by the chief minister.