LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has congratulated his party lawmakers for getting the 2016-17 budget passed through the assembly in an excellent manner.

“The Punjab government has given the biggest development budget in the history of the province and this balanced budget will bring about a positive change,” he told his party legislators yesterday.

CM Shehbaz said that the measures proposed in the new budget will alleviate poverty and bridge gap between the rich and the poor. “Punjab government has earmarked billions of rupees for progress and prosperity of 100 billon people of the province. The record funds of Rs550 billion have been allocated under the Annual Development Programme (ADP),” he added.

The chief minister further said that the historic development programme reflected the priorities of government to raise the living standards of people. Utilising billions of rupees for education, health, agriculture and social sectors will bring betterment in the life of people, according to the CM.

He said a splendid package has also been given for development of agriculture and prosperity of cultivators. “Decrease in the prices of urea, DAP and tariff rate for tube-wells besides the programme of provision of interest-free loans will benefit the farmers. Facilities are being given to cultivators for making up their losses due to recession at international level,” he added.

Shehbaz said the implementation of a big programme for repair and rehabilitation of rural roads will lead to better rural economy. He said the new budget reflects durable development, strong economy and balanced development of all areas.

“Supply of potable water to rural people will be ensured through Saaf Pani Project and Rs30b has allocated in the new budget for this programmeme.”

About energy crisis, the CM said that a lot of work has been done to fix the problem and efforts are being made round the clock under the leadership of PM Nawaz Sharif. “Work on various power projects is underway and the completion of these programs will add thousands of megawatts to the national grid,” he said, adding that the Punjab government has completed the only project of solar power generation in the country’s history with its own resources.

He said the government stepped up the 900 megawatt solar power project at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park that would start producing 300 megawatts electricity in few days. According to the CM, the Centre and Punjab are joint working on gas-based energy projects of 3600 megawatts.

“The PML-N government will keep its words of getting rid of darkness. The completion of power projects will result in elimination of load-shedding and availability of cheap electricity,” Shehbaz Sharif claimed.

QUESTION PAPER LEAK: Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif presided over a meeting through video link at Civil Secretariat yesterday which reviewed legal action against the elements involved in an Intermediate Part-II paper leak, and the measures for curbing such incidents in future.

“There is no justification for leakage of a paper and stern action should be taken against the elements playing with the future of the nation in their lust for money,” the CM held.

He also asked the ministers and secretaries concerned why the decision for complete computerisation of examination system of Boards of Education has not been implemented. He said that leakage of paper is a crime and praised the RPO Sargodha for taking timely action against this malpractice.

The CM further stressed that the Education boards and the examination system should be completely free from flaws.