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LAHORE: Punjab Cabinet, which met here on Thursday with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair, accorded approval of Wheat Procurement Policy 2020-21 under which the Punjab government will purchase wheat at Rs 1800 per 40 kg from cultivators and the target of wheat procurement has been fixed from 3.5 million matric tonnes to 5.0 million metric tonnes.

Addressing the meeting, the CM said that growers’ interest will be safeguarded and he will himself monitor the wheat procurement campaign. He also directed Cabinet Standing Committee for Finance and Development to review the matter of increase in salaries of provincial government employees in accordance with the decision of the federal government and said that the committee should its final recommendation on this issue very soon.

The Cabinet also approved Punjab Sugar Supply Chain Management Order 2021 under which sale and purchase of sugar system would be regulated. The godowns of sugar mills and dealers would be registered and only registered dealers would be allowed to sell or purchase sugar.

Approval was also accorded to the Prevention of Speculation in Essential Commodities Ordinance 2021 under which tariff of essential items would be controlled. It was also decided to import 200000 metric tonnes of sugar to sustain its prices in the province. Moreover, installation of four new cement plants in Mianwali, DG Khan and Khushab was also approved in the meeting. Billions of rupees are expected to be invested in cement plant projects which will result in creating thousands of jobs to the citizens. The meeting also approved waiver of Abiana (water rate), agriculture tax and other arrears for cultivators facing drought in tehsil Noorpur Thal of Khushab district and 75 mauzas have been declared calamity-hit areas.

The Cabinet also approved financial package of Rs 440 million for the people suffered from monsoon flood during 2020. It also directed to constitute a special committee to grant charter status to Ghazi Institute of Engineering and Science, D G Khan. Another committee was constituted to devise new policy for granting fitness certificates of transport vehicles and dispose of all matters with Swedish company. The committee would submit its recommendations within seven days.

The recommendations of resource mobilization committee for FY 2019-20 were approved and under these recommendations, decision was made to increase route permit fee.

The Cabinet decided to approve and amend Punjab Civil and Administration Act 2017. It was decided to adjourn an agenda of advance increment to elementary and primary teachers. The Cabinet approved Punjab Sales Tax Special Procedure (carriage of petroleum oil through oil tankers/transportation) Rules 2020. It also decided to review terms and conditions for chairman Ravi Urban Development Authority. The new chairman of the authority would be authorized to use official vehicle and POL except salary. It approved the resignation tendered by Rashid Aziz, Chairman Ravi Urban Development Authority.

The appointment of chairman BoD central business district development authority and its official members was approved in the meeting of Cabinet. Irfan Elahi, ex-bureaucrat would be chairman of the authority while SMBR, Chairman P&D, Secretary Finance and Secretary Housing would be its members. The meeting also approved amendment in Lahore Ring Road Authority Act 2011 under which the scope of authority would be extended across the province. Annual report of Punjab Commission on the Status of Women for 2018 was also presented for approval.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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