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LAHORE: Punjab cabinet which met here on Thursday with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair expressed concern over the rising number of corona cases and death rate and decided to further strict restrictions in cities with a more positive ratio to save the lives of the citizens.

The provincial ministers presented a consensus proposal to enforce complete lockdown before Eid in Lahore and other cities with a more corona ratio. The special cabinet committee will finalize the recommendations after reviewing the proposal of complete lockdown to submit the same to NCOC.

The cabinet also decided to increase the number of oxygen beds and ventilators on an emergent basis along with the adoption of beds to maintain the supply of oxygen. The proposal of discontinuing the supply of oxygen to industries using the oxygen was also brought under consideration. The meeting decided to increase the number of vaccination centres while the federal government will also be approached for the import of oxygen.

The cabinet expressed satisfaction with the wheat procurement drive and it was told that 69 percent of the wheat crop has been cut and around 1.8 million metric ton wheat has been procured by the Punjab government. Sufficient wheat stock is available and action will be continued against illegal hoarding of wheat. It was also decided to take administrative steps to stabilize the flour price.

The meeting was briefed that more than 300 Ramazan bazaars have been established in the province where a ten kg flour bag is available at Rs 375 and sugar is sold at Rs 65 per kg.

The meeting endorsed rules of business for the south Punjab secretariat and approved recommendations of the cabinet standing committee for legislation. The secretaries appointed in the south Punjab secretariat will be empowered. The cabinet approved to give the status of tehsil to Chowk Sarwar Shaheed in the Muzaffargarh district along with the approval of amendments in the Punjab Border Military Police and Baloch Levi Service Rules 2009. Under this amendment, Baloch Levi could be posted in the Rajanpur district. Punjab Road Safety Authority Act, 2020 was also approved to improve the drivers' training standard and the safety of vehicles. Approval was granted to convert Lahore Transport Company into Punjab Transport Company for province-wise operations.

The meeting also approved amendments in Motor Vehicles Rules, 1969 along with the approval of amendments in Section 2(S), 21 and 38 of Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Amendment Act, 2007. The Punjab Aab Pak Authority (Appointment and Conditions of Service Rules, 2020) and lease of Jinnah Park Rawalpindi was approved while the value of the lease will be determined by the District Price Assessment Committee and Provincial Price Assessment Committee. Further steps were approved in the light of court decisions about Lawyers Cooperative Housing Society in Bahawalpur. Attachment of different union councils of Rajanpur with tehsils was rejected and their previous status will remain restored. Annual reports 2017-20 of Punjab Social Protection Authority and annual performance reports of PPRA were approved along with in-principle approval of notification of controlled areas of Ravi Urban Development Authority.

The meeting also approved giving university status to Namal Institute Mianwali along with the decision to grant university status to Ghazi Institute of Engineering DG Khan. Uniform implementation of LDA building by-laws to all the development authorities in Punjab was approved as well.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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