RAHIM YAR KHAN   -   The Punjab government has allocated 35 percent of the total budget for Southern Punjab for the first time.

This was stated by Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht during an address to a coordination committee meeting here on Saturday.

The minister, who was on his first official visit after general elections of 2018, claimed that the Government of Punjab was going to launch the Intermediate City Plan (ICP). He added that in first phase districts with large population would be included in this project with RYK district. He said that the project would facilitate to control the increasing urban population through a specific plan.

The minister added that the development and prosperity of Southern Punjab was first priority of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. He said that injustice to this area by previous governments would be debugged. He stated that the government had presented public-friendly budget despite difficult economic conditions. He criticised the previous governments for misusing public money for their personal advertisement.

The minister said that Sheikh Zayed Hospital Unit II had been approved for latest health facilities in this area. He instructed District Health Authority to prepare its recommendations for new dialysis units at all THQ hospitals of the district because SZMCH unit was not catering for the needs of the patients. “Four new colleges will be completed and made functional before the new educational year,” he added.

On the other hand, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) district president Jam MD Ganga told the reporters that the PTI government had forgotten its promises about Saraiki area, adding that it even could not fulfil the establishment of separate civil secretariat for Southern Punjab. He claimed that the politicians who introduced “Janobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz” had shelved the struggle of South Punjab after getting their ministries and personal interests.