LAHORE   -   The Punjab government on Friday proposed huge funds under the head of “public order and safety affairs” during the fiscal year 2019-20, raising annual allocation to Rs178 billion from last year’s Rs161 billion.

The budget documents reveal the provincial police department alone would be allocated Rs117.315 billion during the next fiscal year. An allocation of Rs28.569 billion was proposed for the law courts while the prison department will get Rs 10.661 billion.

Similarly, more than Rs21 billion would be utilized under the head of “Administration of Public Order” during the financial year 2019-20. An amount of Rs803 million has been allocated for the fire protection department.

The PTI-led provincial government proposed an allocation of Rs178.384 under the head of law and order. The planned spending has been jacked up from last year’s Rs161 billion. Out of the total allocation, only Rs3.172 billion would be used as development expenditure.

During its budget estimates presented in the Punjab Assembly, the government proposed an allocation of Rs117 billion for the police department during 2019-20 against the last year’s allocation of Rs113 billion. In 2017-18, the government had allocated Rs 101 billion for the country’s largest law enforcement agency.

Police will use billions of rupees for massive expansion and re-equipping to deal with rising internal security challenges, an official said while commenting on the budget estimates presented by the provincial government. He said a major chunk of the grants would be used under the head of fixed salaries.

The government has proposed additional funds to equip police with latest weapons and technology besides providing best training to the policemen. The government has also announced Rs1.069 billion for the police under the head of development expenditure.

The government has increased the police spending at a time when the crime rate is also on the rise across the Punjab province. The police reported a record number of cases during the first five months of this year as compared to the previous year, suggesting sizeable surge in criminal incidents across the province.

The surge in crime was attributed to the sharp increase in incidents of kidnapping for ransom, rape, dacoity, robbery, burglary, theft, vehicle theft, motor-vehicle snatching and cattle theft. The police data shows significant increase in incidents of “crime against property” during this year as compared to the last year.

The provincial police registered a total of 158,733 crime cases during the first five months of this year against 135,551 cases reported during the same period last year (from January to May). The official record reveals that the police investigators failed to trace at least 1,441 crime cases reported across the province during the first five months of this year. More than 38,735 cases arestill under investigation.

Rs 10billion for Punjab Prisons

The Punjab government on Friday allocated Rs 10.661 billion for jails and convict settlement for the annual budget 2019-20. Last year, the prison department had been allocated Rs 8.717billion.

As per bifurcation of non development budget, Rs 135 million are kept for direction, Rs4.654 billion are allocated for central jails and Rs5,458 billion would be given to district jails. an amount of Rs 55 million would be allocated for the lock ups, Rs119 million for jails (Manufactures) Central jails and Rs 10 million are proposed for works.