Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar presided over a high-level meeting at his office to review progress on steps taken to overcome smog on Monday. Addressing the meeting, the Punjab chief minister said that the Punjab government was taking every possible measure to overcome smog and air monitoring stations were also being set up to provide the relevant data. Air monitoring stations have been set up in Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Multan while a special air monitoring station has also been set up across the Bambawali-Ravi-Bedian canal to monitor the ash coming through air from across the border due to burning of crops residue. The special mobile laboratory will start working from October 18 to monitor the air, he added. He said that ban has been imposed on burning of polythene bags, tyres, rubber and crops residue across the province and section 144 has also been imposed. He directed that indiscriminate action should be initiated on violation of Section 144 and rice choppers should be used to dispose of the residue of rice crop. The meeting decided to constitute a committee under the chair of federal adviser Amin Aslam to review matters pertaining to brick-kilns. The committee will present its recommendations about transferring brick-kilns to new technology. The CM directed that steps should be taken to stabilise the prices of bricks and brick-kiln owners should be motivated about the use of zigzag technology. Action should also be continued against smoke emitting vehicles. The health department should arrange public awareness activities while information department should launch a special campaign through print and electronic media for public awareness. The brick-kiln owners association assured the Punjab government about its cooperation. The CM was told in the briefing that 53 brick-kilns have been closed for using wrong fuel and construction of new brick-kilns on the pattern of old design has also been stopped. A total of 50 cases have been registered against people involved in burning of crops residue and 200 industrial units have also been sealed for spreading environmental pollution. Amin Aslam, Agriculture Minister Malik Nauman Langarial, additional chief secretary, additional inspector general, secretaries, high officials and Brick Kiln Owners Association president attended the meeting. Separately, Sardar Usman Buzdar expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements made for the by-elections in the province. He appreciated the performance of provincial administration, police and law enforcement agencies and said that Army and rangers have also provided their full support for making best arrangements in this regard. The voters took part in the voting process in a peaceful manner and no untoward incident took place due to the best arrangements of the government. The credit goes to the concerned departments and cabinet committee on law and order also deserves accolades for its hard work, concluded the chief minister. Separately, a delegation of district presidents of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Southern Punjab led by Ishaq Khan Khakwani called on Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office. Different party matters and organisational issues were discussed on the occasion. Talking on the occasion, the CM said that district presidents of PTI Southern Punjab are his strength and power and mutual consultations will be continued with them. Those who have had rendered sacrifices for the party are our heroes and their respect is my honour, he said. He said that a focal person will be appointed for Southern Punjab and conditions of hospitals and schools will be improved there. Similarly, mobile health units will also be sent to remote and far-flung areas of South Punjab and a provincial cabinet meeting will be held in Multan after the budget. He said that district level committees have been constituted for ongoing operation against encroachments and party presidents will also be given representation in these committees. Meanwhile, a Rescue 1122 centre will be established in remote areas. Solid waste management is being launched from Dera Ghazi Khan, he added. Detailed meetings will be held with party presidents during the visit of districts. He disclosed that a plan has been devised to increase the number of arazi centres under land record information management system and hoped that this step would provide necessary relief to the people. The delegation members said that they are happy that a chief minister has been chosen from the Southern Punjab who knows the problems of the common man well and the province will progress under his leadership. Separately, an orphan student of Pando Village, Uzma Waris who took third position in intermediate examination, met Usman Buzdar along with her mother at the Chief Minister’s Office. The CM congratulated her for achieving a good position despite paucity of resources and presented a cheque of Rs 500,000 along with a bouquet. Published in Daily Times, October 16th 2018.