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September 9, 2018

Punjab cabinet to keep good projects of previous govt

Top Story

September 9, 2018

LAHORE: The Punjab Cabinet on Saturday decided to continue those projects of previous government which are viable and serve the public interests, including the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI).

The PTI government does not want to waste the public money and would use it for the benefit of the masses, said Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan while briefing journalist about the decisions of the Punjab Cabinet at a press conference.

The information minister said the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar reviewed the implementation of PTI government’s 100-day agenda and pointed out that several projects and the departments created by the previous government had become white elephant.

The cabinet constituted several committees to review and assess the performance of different departments and projects of the previous government to make required changes to make them beneficial. The cabinet constituted a steering committee headed by Senior Minister Aleem Khan to monitor the implementation of the 100-day agenda and also constituted sub-committees on 15 projects.

The cabinet meeting which continued for nearly six hours supported Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative of launching dams fund, and observed that construction of new dams were crucial.

The chief minister and all Punjab ministers decided to donate one-month salary to the PM’s Dam Fund, expressing hope that government officials and general public would also take PM’s appeal seriously. The CM directed the committees to regularly monitor the implementation of the 100-day agenda. He also decided to take all stake holders into confidence while formulating policies and recommendations regarding the respective departments and ministries. The cabinet said the previous government mercilessly plundered the public money during the last 10 years, taking arbitrary decisions like kings and monarchs. The CM was informed that Rs 2 billion per month subsidy was being given to three metro bus projects in Punjab, which proved a white elephant, putting a huge burden on the public exchequer.

To a question, the information minister said that the Peshawar metro bus project was nearing completion and it was no burden on the provincial exchequer since it was free of any subsidy. The minister said the cabinet also reviewed the Orange train project and was shocked over “the startling revelations of unbelievable modes of corruption” in the project, which would be made public at a suitable time. He said the previous government declared the capacity of Quaid Azam Solar Power Plant as 100 MW but now it was revealed that its capacity was 18 MW.

The cabinet decided to bring a new, strong and financially autonomous system of local governments by the mid of October 2018, to replace the existing system. The minster told a questioner the existing local bodies system was a mess against the tall claims of good governance of the previous government.

The existing bodies were not financially autonomous and comprised of district councils. But PTI government is bringing the system of district governments in its place. He told a questioner that the cabinet also decided to constitute a working group to formulate recommendations about creating a southern Punjab province for the administrative purposes, and would reach a viable decision in this regard very soon.

The cabinet agreed upon the name of Nasir Khan Durrani to head the Police Reforms Commission, aimed at making the Punjab police free of political and other influences. The cabinet agreed upon the suggestions to include the secretaries of Home, Public Prosecution and Law departments in the five member commission which would submit its recommendations within six weeks. The minister said the chief minister expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of Anti-Corruption Establishment which was used as a tool of political maneuvering to suppress opponents, exactly the opposite objective for which the department was created. The cabinet constituted a committee comprising ministers of Law and Public Prosecution departments to suggest the reforms in the ACE. The minister said the chief minister expressed sorrow that previous rulers created new departments by needlessly dividing the ministries to appoint their blue-eyed bureaucrats as secretaries at the expense of public money.

The cabinet discussed the suggestion to merge the two departments of health ministry and constituted a committee headed by Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashed to submit its suggestions. The law minister would also be part of the committee.

The cabinet also decided to auction the luxury vehicles using the officers of companies and authorities, and constituted a committee headed by Raja Basharat and comprising Ch Zaheeruddin to submit report in next meeting.

The cabinet decided that austerity policy should not be restricted to the ministers but also be expanded to the bureaucracy and a complete assessment would be made about the number of official vehicles being used by bureaucrats.

The minister told a questioner that decision about auction of excess official vehicles would be made in the light of the committee’s recommendations.