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September 16, 2020

Public complaints about inflation justified: PM

Top Story

September 16, 2020

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday admitted there was price-hike in the country, and people’s complaints about it were justified.

However, he regretted that some people term their hardships a consequence of Naya Pakistan, which was not justified.

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ravi River Front Urban Development (RRFUD) project here, he referred to building of Naya Pakistan under his party’s manifesto. While indirectly alluding to the policies of previous rulers, the PM said definitely, the country was undergoing difficulties due to inherited huge loans, and limited and short-sighted policies.

He said the media was always questioning people about the Naya Pakistan they were promised. "If you ask a person tired of rising inflation such a question, then, of course, it's not as if they will shower praise [on the government]."

The premier said the former rulers had limited thinking and interested only in setting up sugar mills, accumulation of pelf and purchase of big residences in London. They had no interest in the country, he added.

“For change, we have to go for belt tightening, but it did not mean to reduce having big dreams,” he added.

The prime minister further said for achievement of big ideals, one had to burn the boats as it was imperative to tap full potential.

It was Edmund Hillary, who first ascended the Mount Everest (during 1953) while many had failed.

Anyone who ever accomplished anything was not because of his capabilities, or the education, or how rich he was, but because he was dreaming big, he added.

“Judge a person what he aspires to be,” the prime minister quoted and stressed that thinking of great could lead to big achievements. He especially mentioned former Malaysian ruler Mahathir Mohamad, who had established the new capital of the country to make his point.

The prime minister also shared his personal experiences in facing the problems and hurdles during the construction of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore and establishment of Namal University in Mianwali.

Mentioning the outcome of smart lockdown policy during the coronavirus pandemic, he said he was advised for complete lockdown as enforced by many Western countries.

“I have repeatedly questioned what will happen to the poor people, daily-wagers and cart owners during the complete lockdown, but none replied,” he added.

On the other hand, Indian premier Modi’s full lockdown added to the miseries of the poor leaving the whole country in chaos, he added.

The prime minister said for the first time in the world’s history, the State of Madina took the responsibility of catering to the needs of the poor and feeble segments of society.

Upon such ideals was based the thinking of Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

While in modern day, he said, China had pulled over 700 million poor people out of poverty and now the world feared its rapid progress.

About his government’s initiatives to address poverty, the prime minister said they issued health cards and now the entire population in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would be provided with the health cover.

He said Panahgah (shelter homes) were set up for the poor daily wagers and labourers where they were being provided with the standardised meal, clothing and lodging.

The Naya Pakistan Housing Project would provide affordable residences to the poor and low income groups.

They were providing about Rs30 billion subsidies in the construction sector.

Under the Ehsaas programme, he said, they had provided Rs200 billion.

Its projects included skills development, scholarships for the poor, income generating initiatives for the rural women and for the first time, a complete programme to overcome the issue of stunting growth.

About the mega initiative, the premier said the Ravi River Front Urban Development project would be a reflection of Naya Pakistan, addressing burgeoning issues of the Lahore city like contamination of the Ravi River and fast depletion of underground water, besides stimulating economic activities.

The RRFUD project, he said the water issues of Lahore had been worsening rapidly.

The sewerage water was being drained out in the Ravi River, polluting its water and giving rise to different diseases.

He expressed the confidence that the new project would have clean water front and a lake, which would also recharge its fast depleting water table.

Water treatment plants would be set up under the RRFUD project to treat the dirty water thus adding to rejuvenation of Ravi River, he added.

The prime minister said the project, which would be completed under the private-public partnership, conceived a modern and green city with different clusters of IT (information technology) and education sectors.

Once completed, other cities would emulate its design, he added.

He also referred to Singapore where the blackish water of river was purified with the use of latest technology.

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, federal and provincial ministers, foreign dignitaries, members of the provincial assembly and high officials were present at the ceremony.

The PM cautioned that certain problems could crop up in the way of realisation of the new city to be equipped with modern facilities as often the big dreams take time to materialise and face hurdles.

He said the establishment of new city was much needed requirement of not only the Lahore city but also of the whole country.

The prime minister said, “Its (Lahore city) growth is unsustainable and it consists of about 40 per cent katchi abadis (slums) as no one ever thought about them.”

The people, who had big dreams and ideals, always faced hurdles but they never felt bogged down with the problems, he added.

Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, speaking on the occasion, said the RRFUD project would spread over an area of 46 kilometres with capacity of storing 600,000 cusecs of water and three barrages.

He said the project would also help increase the underground water of Lahore, which had receded to 600 feet below the surface level.

The CM said that about 12 different zones and 1.8 million housing units with the use of local material would provide huge employment opportunities to the locals.

The project would be remembered for long as it would give a boost to the country’s economy, he added.

Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar met Prime Minister Imran Khan at Governor’s House and briefed him on 'welfare works', 'university reforms', 'Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority' initiatives and other issues as well.

According to details, during PM’s visit to Lahore, Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at Governor’s House Lahore and discussed political and governmental issues.

During the meeting, the governor apprised Prime Minister Imran Khan about ration distribution among thousands of families affected by rains and floods in Sindh and provision of interest-free loans of up to one lakh rupees to 10,000 families for the repair of damaged houses. He also spoke about the steps being taken by the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority to rehabilitate filtration plants and install new filtration plants across Punjab, including Lahore.

Ch Mohammad Sarwar briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan that the universities in Punjab are undergoing rapid reforms and he has made it mandatory for all officers concerned with university affairs to decide on any university file within a maximum of 10 days. This file will be forwarded to the officers concerned and action would be taken against those who show irresponsibility.

Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated the progressive steps taken by the governor and ordered for intensifying the measures for reforming universities and providing clean drinking water to people.