LAHORE - Punjab Assembly yesterday unanimously passed a bill to check the private schools from increasing fees at choice as well as to regulate their working criteria.

The House also passed a resolution to seek legal cover to the Hindu marriages and other allied affairs.

The Opposition had filed amendment to the bill on private schools in Punjab, but withdrew that later on. The bill restrains the private schools from arbitrarily charging the students on the count of admission, internal security and laboratory fees, and bounds them to mandatory registration or pay Rs20,000 per day fine.

The bill requires the private schools to apply three months before the commencement of academic year to the Registration Authority if they need to enhance the fee.

A private institution will be bound to repay or adjust the excess money, if it overcharges a student.

According to the bill, the authority will be competent to permit additional fee, however that will not be more than five percent of the fee charged in the preceding year. The fee structure will be same as it was in the year 2015. The bill says a private school will be fined Rs20,000 per day for not abiding by the terms of registration and on the elapse 30 days, a penalty of Rs2 million may be imposed.

The Registration Authority has been empowered to pursue legal matters against the defaulting private schools . The House presided over Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan also passed a resolution, with one voice to demand legislation on providing legal cover to the Hindu marriages. The resolution called upon the federal government to amend the Constitution in this regard.

During the question hour on energy, the Punjab government said the construction of Kalabagh Dam is in the national interest for electricity production.

The house was informed that funds given by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) carried the lowest interest rate.

“The solar projects are underway to generate 900mw of electricity, while a Chinese company is going to launch another 300mw project as part of CPEC,” Punjab’s Energy Minister Ch Sher Ali told the House.

During Friday’s session, the government turned down all speculations about the emission of pollution and degradation of environment from the operation of coal fired energy projects.

About Kalabagh Dam, the government benches stressed it must come through consensus of all provinces while the Punjab would continue its case on this score apart from bringing other provinces around.

The minister, replying to the queries, said the Punjab government in order to tap huge potential of canals for the production of electricity, issued letters to a number of private companies but they failed to start work. Fresh advertisements would be made again rescinding the agreements reached with earlier companies, he added.

“With the cooperation of ADB hydel power projects are under completion at four sites; however security risks to Chinese engineers are delaying the work,” said the minister while expressing the hope the projects would be completed by the end of this year.

Giving a reply to the perception of pollution from the coal based energy plants, the minister said: “It is true about the coal power plants set up in 50s and 60s but the latest ones are absolutely pollution free.”

Sher Ali affirmed that a coal-based power plant was being set up at fertile agri land in Sahiwal, saying: “Some sacrifices have to be made in the larger national interest.”

He told the House that 30,000 trees will be planted at the site by next month, in order to address public concerns. The 19th session has been prorogued to indefinite date.