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PA passes resolution to extend Ord during budget session

By Our Correspondent
June 25, 2020

LAHORE:The successful parliamentary strategy of Punjab Minister for Law Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat saved the Punjab Health Department on Wednesday from a legal crisis.

The previously enacted Punjab Infections and Diseases Prevention and Control Ordinance 2020 was coming to an end. In the running session of the Punjab Assembly, Raja Basharat presented a resolution to extend the said ordinance which was passed.

For the first time in the history of the Punjab Assembly, legislation has been passed during the budget session while the opposition has not opposed it. If the resolution had not been tabled, the Department of Health’s actions taken against the Corona pandemic would have been overturned and further action could have created legal complications. This could have severely affected the ongoing campaign against Corona in Punjab. The timely action and foresight of the law minister have saved not only the Health Department but also the Punjab government and the people from possible difficulties.

Moreover, during the PA session on Wednesday, the Opposition raised objections to the performance of Agriculture, Food departments during the debate on demands for grant. The Opposition members submitted the cut motions and two of them were debated. Debate over rest of the cut motions is expected on Thursday (today).

Besides, Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem while speaking on the floor of PA regarding the policy of Food Department said that for the first time in history, farmers in Punjab got more than Rs 1400 per mound of wheat while the government has historical reserves of 43.2 million metric tons of wheat.

Aleem, who is also the Food Minister, said that after ample procurement of wheat, now all our focus is on keeping the price of flour in the market to a minimum which, In Sha Allah, will be in practical in the next one week by releasing wheat to flour mills. Aleem Khan further said that people still have twice as much wheat as the government has purchased and In Sha Allah the Punjab government will reorganise the Food Department on new lines including subsidy mechanism. Commenting on the speeches of PML-N members, Abdul Aleem Khan said where are the people who are remembering the days of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi today? They did not implement Wazirabad Cardiology Hospital and Mian Mir Hospital Lahore who were kept on hold for 10 years only because these projects were inaugurated by Ch Pervaiz Elahi.

Abdul Aleem Khan asked “Showbaz Sharif”, who was in habit of calling the meeting at 4 am, to give details of the projects which PTI government has not allowed to be completed in the last two years.

Abdul Aleem Khan claimed that the people of Punjab are suffering and the provincial government has so far incurred a debt of Rs 550 billion on the purchase of wheat alone, on which the banks have to pay Rs 40 billion per annum as interest only while giving policy statement Abdul Aleem Khan said that the procedure for procurement of wheat in Punjab will be made realistic from next year and in few days important decisions will be taken by the Punjab Cabinet regarding the release of wheat to flour mills. He informed the House that the Federal government has permitted import of 2.5 million metric tons of wheat. He acknowledged that cotton production in Punjab is declining which is the responsibility of the Nawaz League government which has set up sugar mills in South Punjab to reward the people of its choice.

Abdul Aleem Khan, while giving a policy statement regarding the Food Department, assured the House that like rice, wheat should also be given free market policy and we will minimise government intervention to prevent corruption and inappropriate measures. He also pointed out the new policy on flour subsidy in which cheap flour would be given only to the needy instead of all without any discrimination.