LAHORE: The opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly has claimed that contrary to the announcement of Shahbaz Sharif to cut expenses of the CM Secretariat, the government has used extra funds on it.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed while addressing the House during the pre-budget discussion on Thursday said that extra funds amounting to Rs 200 million had been taken in the name of the CM’s security.
He said that despite the chief minister’s announcement of austerity measures and cutting his expenses by 30 percent during the fiscal year 2013-14, an additional Rs 190 million had already been used on the CM Secretariat by October 2013, and that the government bagged Rs 50 million in October 2013 alone, while another Rs 20 million were taken after that.
He further stated that nine bulletproof vehicles were already in use of the CM Secretariat, but now, with huge expenses, four new bulletproof Mercedes cars had been purchased from the taxes of the poor people of Punjab. He also revealed that extra funds of Rs 20 million had been released to the Punjab Governor’s House.
The opposition leader also said that the police were being used for personal duties at Jati Umra (the residence of the Sharif brothers) and show-cause notices had been issued to 20 policemen for punishment after some peacocks were killed by a cat there.
He asked whether the policemen were on duty to protect the CM or the peacocks.
Criticising the new Metro Bus Service (MBS) projects in Rawalpindi and Multan, the opposition leader said that the government was giving false figures of total amount (Rs 30 billion) on the same project in Lahore. He said that around Rs 80 billion had already been spent on it, and more Rs 14 billion were being used on the route in the areas of Gajju Matta and Badami Bagh. He asked the government to declare and allocate funds for all new MBS projects before starting working on the same.
He said that at least six new hospitals should be constructed in Lahore, as its population had exceeded 150 million. He also demanded that the government should take concrete action against private hospitals, as they were looting patients without treating them properly. He suggested the government to spend funds of the MBS on construction of new hospitals.
For the education sector, he proposed that one syllabus should be introduced in Punjab, avoiding opening Danish Schools and dividing the nation in classes through high and low educational systems in society. He also demanded to provide missing facilities at the educational institutes.
He told the House that more than 8 million children were not going to schools, while out of the total 57,998 public schools in Punjab, 11,123 had no proper buildings, 8,000 had no boundary walls and 6,000 schools had no facility of drinking water.
The opposition leader, terming the Punjab Youth Festival as a “drama for making money”, said that no tender, pre-qualification or work order had been issued for it, while no funds were directly allocated for the purpose in the current budget, which was a wrong act by the government.
Mehmoodur Rasheed said that the nation was spending a huge amount (more than Rs 75 billion) on the Police Department, but the thana culture had not changed, while the registration and investigation of any FIR was very weak. By the reason, a student in Muzaffarabad recently committed suicide.
In the pre-budget debate, Mian Aslam Iqbal of the same party (PTI), treasury member Mazhar Abbas Raan and other legislators also shared their suggestions for the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2014-15.
Earlier, the House unanimously passed a bill to regularise lady health workers (LHWs), constituting an authority to address their service structure. The bill titled the ‘Punjab Reproductive, Maternal, Neo-Natal, and Child Health Authority Bill 2014’ was moved by the law minister.
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