BAHAWALPUR - In a historic first, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Saturday presided over a meeting of the Punjab cabinet at the Divisional Headquarters Bahawalpur.

Twenty two-point agenda was discussed in the three hour-long meeting. The provincial cabinet approved policy of allotment of vehicles to provincial ministers and officers in an impartial way. The annual report for the year 2017 of the Punjab Power Development Board was also approved. After approval of the provincial cabinet this report will be presented in the provincial assembly. The meeting also gave its consent to draft the Punjab Water Policy. The draft of the Water Act will be prepared in light of this policy and the Water Council will be constituted. The proposal of construction of the Dadhocha Dam under private-public partnership was also approved.

The agenda for control of lower portion of the Chashma Right Bank Canal and the provision of the complete share of water to the Punjab from this canal was also approved. The report of the Auditor General of Pakistan on the Disaster Management Organization Punjab's accounts for the year 2017-18 was also approved. The audit report of the Auditor General Pakistan for district health and education authorities of Punjab for the year 2017-2018 was also approved. The formulation of Labour Policy of Punjab was also accepted. The meeting also gave its consent to appoint vice-chancellor of the Cholistan University of the Veterinary and Animal Sciences and to form a search committee.

The final recommendations regarding South Punjab Forest Company will be drafted by the advisory council, which will present its report to the chief minister. The increase in allowance of doctors on the basis of performance was also approved. The allowance will be increased in the upcoming financial year. The cabinet also permitted to implement decision on the equal fee of tests at hospitals. The cabinet also allowed to start process for purchasing of ventilators, ICU beds and ICU monitors. The meeting decided that assistant professors recruited on three-year contract will be regularised. Recruitment on 325 vacant posts in Social Welfare Department Punjab was also approved. The meeting gave its consent to recruit special persons on basis of three per cent quota. Provision of funds for current financial year 2018-19 for Balochistan Education Programme was also permitted. The cabinet approved subsidy on export of sugar. Amendment in Punjab Rules of Business 2011 was allowed to give control of Punjab Tianjin Engineering University to the Health Department. The meeting decided that measures will be taken for establishment of Chakar Khan Rind University, Dera Ghazi Khan.

The cabinet meeting also held Fateha for mothers of provincial ministers Ajmal Cheema, Jehanzeb Khan and MPA Dr Afzal.

Talking to media after the meeting, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that no unilateral but consensus decision will be taken on South Punjab province. Buzdar said, “We have come here to resolve problems of people in Bahawalpur so that people do not need to travel to Lahore for resolution of their issues. Cholistan University will be set up this year and appointment of vice chancellor will be made by the search committee.” He said South Punjab Secretariat will be functional from the next financial year. “South Punjab will be given mega projects. The work on the burns unit will also start.

The committees on 100-day plan are still active and targets will be achieved.” The chief minister said, “I went straight to Model Bazar from the Bahawalpur airport and talked to the victims, and we are resolute to compensate their losses. A cricket stadium in Bahawalpur will also be discussed “Action is being taken against influential mafias during anti-encroachment drive and no permission has been given to harm the poor. An action will be taken against concerned assistant commissioner for violating this policy,” the CM said.

Spokesman to CM Dr Shahbaz Gill, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan and others were also present.

Earlier, Buzdar, speaking during the cabinet meeting, said another promise had been fulfilled by holding the meeting of Punjab cabinet in Bahawalpur. “We will end deprivation among people of South Punjab . The whole of Punjab is my home and I will go to every corner of my house,” he said. Buzdar said less-developed areas will be brought at par with developed areas. The cabinet meetings will also be held in other divisions as well.”

“We will move forward in future with same zeal and serve the people,” said Buzdar. Provincial ministers, advisers, special assistants, chief secretary, secretaries of concerning departments and senior officials were present on the occasion.

In the cabinet meeting, Rs7 billion worth of development projects for Bahawalpur division were announced. Progress on Bahawalpur division's development projects were reviewed in the cabinet meeting.

It was decided that additional funds worth Rs36 million will be provided for extension of Water Supply Pipeline Project in Cholistan, Rs33 million additional funds were approved for water supply pipeline from Kudwala to Bunna Post. In Khanpur, additional funds worthRs 120 million will be provided for a cadet college.

CM Punjab said that additional funds of Rs210 million will be provided on priority basis for sewerage Scheme in Chistian, Bahawalpur City's additional Ring Road will be completed soon for which 100 million rupees will be provided. He also approved additional funds of Rs85 million for completion of Abbasia Town Railway Crossing and flyover bridge, issuing direction that projects be completed soon.

The CM directed health secretary to issue notification of Sheikh Zayed Hospital Rahim Yar Khan's board of governors within 3 days. Buzdar said tdevelopment projects for Bahawalpur will be completed in consultation with member assembly. He said development projects will benefit more than 100 million population of Bahawalpur division. He added that water theft from canals will not be tolerated.

The CM said zero tolerance had been adapted against corruption and corrupt officials should mend their ways. “Member assembly should identify the corruption, I will take action,” he said. Buzdar took notice of complaints of irregularities made during appointments in Islamia University Bahawalpur and Cholistan Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and directed inquiry team to investigate the matter.

During the meeting, members assembly apprised the chief minister of problems faced by people of their respective constituencies. The CM Punjab assured them that their problems will be resolved on priority basis.

Bahawalpur Division's Tehreek-e-Insaaf's member national and provincial assembly, chief secretary, chairmain planning and development, additional chief secretary and concerned secretaries attended the meeting.

NAWAZ, ZARDARI WILL TEACH MUSIC, DANCE CLASSES IN JAIL

Meanwhile, talking to the media after cabinet meeting, Provincial Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chauhan said master of money laundering Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardar will teach music and dance classes in jail,

“Thieves, dacoits and money launderers have no place in politics. PTI government will make no deal, no NRO and reconciliation will be done, it is a big feat of PTI's first 100 days that Khadim-e-Aala and Khadim Rizvi are in jail, and younger Zardari did not even mention Benazir Bhutoo once on her death anniversary. All of cases against PPP were made during PML-N government, he said.