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December 8, 2018

‘Punjab to be pollution-free zone in three years’


December 8, 2018

LAHORE: Provincial Minister Sibtain Khan on Friday vowed on the floor of Punjab Assembly to turn Punjab into a pollution-free zone in the next two to three years.

Responding to a question related to Environment Department posed by PML-N legislator Bau Akhter in the question hour session of PA Chaired by Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Mohammed Mazari, Sibtain Khan said as long as the PTI government was in power, a positive change would certainly be witnessed.

Bau Akhter, elected from PP-154, expressed his dissatisfaction over the answer regarding the action taken by the Environment Department in his constituency against the factories causing environmental hazards.

In the answer, the House was told that there were 87 factories, steel mills, furnaces in PP-154 and under the Punjab Environmental Act 1997, 10 had been closed permanently for causing pollution.

Bau Akhter while responding to the answer stated that there were around 400 mills, factories only in PP-154 and the department was misleading the House. He said there the House was not informed about the 80 per cent industrial units working in PP-154.

Responding to him, Sibtain Khan, the minister concerned, stated that he would address the complaint of the questioner if the he felt that the list provided to the House wasn’t true. However, he said things can’t be changed overnight as the present government had inherited the problems from past 10 years.

He said the PTI government would own all the issues that were related to it since the beginning of the tenure three months ago and would come up with a positive change.Sibtain Khan pledged that Punjab would be a greener and pollution free zone in the next two to three years.

Most of the questions were disposed of due to the absence of the questioners whereas the House couldn’t take up the queries related to the Communication and Works Department as the minister concerned didn’t reach the assembly during the question hour. Asif Nakai, minister for communication and works, however, reached PA immediately after the question hour session was over.

Mohsin Atta Khosa on a point of order drew the attention of the Chair towards the absence of an emergency exit in Punjab Assembly for the members sitting in the section situation in the upper storey of the House. The MPA voiced concern over the issue and stated that other than the elevator, there wasn’t any alternative way which could be used in time of emergency, fire etc. He called for setting up stairs to cope with any emergency situation.

Lackluster response from the ruling party MPAs particularly the ministers resulted in the adjournment of the PA session over quorum issue. When the debate over health sector was initiated, PML-N MPA Mian Tahir pointed out quorum which was insufficient. The Chair adjourned the session for 15 minutes but the PA once again failed to meet it after which it was adjourned till Monday.

Our correspondent adds: A task force committee has been formulated by Chief Minister Punjab under the 100-day plan of Prime Minister Imran Khan to monitor pesticides, said a spokesperson of agriculture department here on Friday

The task force has been set up under the chair of MPA Mian Alamdar Abbas Qureshi. Other members included; secretary agriculture, additional secretary (taskforce) agriculture, Malik Ghulam Murtaza Rahim Khar, Dr Waseem Hassan Langrial, Mian Abdul Hanan, Mudasar Saeed Bajwa, Mumtaz Muhammad Khan, Brig (R) Hameed Khaleel and Kamran Khursheed.

The committee will monitor the quality as well as prices of pesticides, the spokesperson said adding that the committee will check the quality and submit its recommendations for giving relief to the farmers in prices.

He said a mobile laboratory is also being established to check the quality of pesticides. Writing of barcode has been made compulsory for ensuring quality of pesticides. It will also help to ensure provision of genuine pesticides.

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