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LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on Wednesday chaired an emergency meeting on water shortage in South Punjab, specially Bahawalpur and Cholistan.

The CM asked the administration and political team to estimate damages in the affected areas and submit a report. He also directed a crackdown to overcome the theft of canal water. The cases should be registered against those involved in water theft and no pressure should be tolerated, he emphasised. The Irrigation secretary briefed about the inflow and outflow of water in rivers and canals.

The CM directed to start relief operations on a war-footing basis and asked the administration and political team to supervise relief activities in affected areas. Temporary ponds should be produced and water should be immediately arranged through water bowsers in remote outback; he said and vowed to support the affectees. The situation was monitored 24/7 and instructions have been issued for regular monitoring of relief activities and ground situations in affected areas, he said. Every possible support would be extended and water scarcity-hit areas are mostly focused, he added.

MPAs Sardar Awais Ahmad Leghari, Yawar Zaman, chief secretary, IG Police, secretary Agriculture and others were present.

Moreover, the CM has asked for a Lahore beautification plan within four days and directed that certified tree data be compiled as well. Similarly, trees and plants should be regularly monitored for saving them from mistletoe; he said and expressed displeasure over the closure of Butterfly Park, disfiguring of green belts and closure of fountains. It was decided in principle that public meetings and rallies would not be allowed in Greater Iqbal Park.

The CM asked the PHA to use recycled water, instead of groundwater and made it clear that presentations would not help as performance should be shown through needful actions. The Parks and Horticulture Authority should be reactivated as Lahore city would, again, be adorned with fountains, flowers and vegetables, he said.

Further, the CM chaired a meeting about managing traffic in Lahore and directed that a comprehensive line of action should be devised to deal with the issue. He demanded a plan within seven days for traffic management in Lahore and other major cities.

Speaking on the occasion, the CM said that the inconvenience caused to the citizens due to traffic jams is inexpressible. No urban planning has been done in Lahore which is causing traffic problems; he regretted and directed the IG police, to provide a feasible plan for the promotion of traffic wardens.

He also tasked commissioner Lahore to formulate recommendations for improving civic matters and the flow of traffic as an organized traffic system is a conspicuous symbol of civilized society. Line departments are duty-bound to save the citizens from traffic issues and they would have to deal with the traffic challenges arising due to the increase in population, he further said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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