Lahore - Punjab Assembly on Wednesday approved 41 demands for grants of the provincial budget 2013-14 worth 916 billion rupees.
Out of total 43 demands for grants, the two grants relating to education and police departments worth 108 billion rupees has been passed during the earlier session on June 25 (Tuesday), while the total figure of the demands for grants is 1024 billion rupees.
Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif addressing the Assembly soon after the approval of demands for grants identifying loadshedding as the biggest problem said both Federal and provincial governments were focusing all their energies to overcome this crisis and expressed confidence that they would be able to provide relief to the masses with the collective efforts of all the stake holders at the earliest.
Meanwhile, during the session, the Opposition in Punjab Assembly rejected the claims of the Treasury regarding provision of best health facilities to the people of province.
The Chief Minister addressing the House claimed that the Finance Minister presented a comprehensive budget in the House and during his budget speech, has stated the development vision and important targets of the government.
He said that the House discussed the budget in detail and the Opposition gave proposals regarding budget and expressed their point of view.
Shahbaz assured the House that the process of consultation with members would also continue in future and full benefit would be taken from their proposals.
The Chief Minister said that the country was facing numerous problems including terrorism.
He said that the serious problem being faced by the country was loadshedding as it was the problem of 18 crore people of Pakistan.
He said that overcoming energy crisis was a big challenge and the PML-N-led government has accepted this challenge.
Shahbaz Sharif said that energy crisis would be certainly overcome through collective wisdom and untiring efforts. He said, “We have to take toughest decisions for providing relief to the people.”
The Chief Minister said, “Punjab government has allocated 22 billion rupees for ending energy crisis, however, this amount is not sufficient and we have to allocate more billions of rupees for this purpose.”
He said that energy projects would have to be implemented through public-private partnership.
Shahbaz said that converting of street lights, offices, hospitals and educational institutions to solar energy was being considered to overcome the shortage of energy.
The Chief Minister said that PML-N government was working round the clock for solving energy crisis and the process of dialogue was continuing with the energy experts and companies.
He said, “We cannot march forward without paying attention to the media reports.”
The Chief Minister said that all political parties presented their programmes through media during elections, however, the people mandated the vision of PML-N and sent it into power.
Talking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif claimed that Punjab government has given best budget in difficult situation.
He said that no burden was put on the common man but elite had been brought into the tax net.
Replying to a question about the treason case against Pervez Musharraf, the Chief Minister said that this case did not relate to October 12, 1999.
He said that this case relates to suo moto notice taken by the Supreme Court regarding the house arrest of the judges by Pervez Musharraf regime.
Shahbaz said that PML-N believes in the supremacy of law and the Constitution.
He said that Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has no vindictive intention against anyone but his aim is to bring the people out of quagmire of problems. Replying to another query, Shahbaz said that terrorism was also a big problem and the federal government was going to convene an All Parties Conference soon for adopting national approach to overcome this problem in which the national policy would be given a final shape in consultation with all stakeholders.
Earlier, the Opposition taking part in debate over their cut motions on health rejected the provincial government claims regarding best health facilities to the people of the province.
PTI’s Mian Aslam Iqbal on his cut motion on Health Department said that the government has failed to complete work of various ongoing health projects including Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology, Jinnah Hospital Burn Center and Samanabad Hospital.
He suggested establishment of kidney centres in hospitals. He also suggested shifting of Mental Hospital to any other suitable place and its building should be given to Punjab Institute of Cardiology in order to boost its capacity.
Other Opposition members including Amir Sultan Cheema, Faiza Malik, Rahila Anwar, Raja Rashid Hafeez and Nosheen Hameed on their cut motion on Health Department said that government should enhance the capacity of District Headquarter Hospitals and Tehsil Headquarter Hospitals. They suggested gynecology centres and hepatitis centres and appointment specialists in these hospitals.
They proposed that the doctors who were posted in rural areas should be given special allowances.
Replying to the cut motions on health, the Minister concerned Tahir Khalil Sindhu told the House that the government would complete the work of under construction hospitals like cardiac hospital in Wazirabad and Bahawalpur Victoria hospital soon.
He said that the work of burn centres in different areas was going on and would be completed soon.
Tahir announced that Punjab Cabinet has decided to constitute an authority at every primary health unit and its authority at every district level to facilitate the people.
After the Speaker moved the cut motions of Opposition and demands for the grants from the Treasury before the House which rejected cut motion from Opposition and passed the demand for grant for Health Department with majority vote.
On the arrival of Chief Minister in the House, the Treasury members chanted slogans ‘Look Loin is coming’ and ‘The Lion comes once again’.
The Opposition Leader, Mehmood-ur-Rashed on a point of order objected on the slogans stating that the Chief Minister is a human being and comparing him with a ‘loin’ (which is an animal) is completely wrong.
On this, surprisingly, the Treasury benches raised slogans in favour of the Leader of the House but did not call him a ‘Loin’.
On Wednesday, the Punjab Assembly budget session started with a delay of 33 minutes with Speaker Rana Iqbal in the chair.
On a point of order, Treasury members Saba Sadaq and Azma Bukhari suggested that a special committee of Parliamentary members should be constituted who investigate the injustice with females in special cases like rape and other cruel incidents. Rahila Yahya Munawar took oath as member of Punjab Assembly in this sitting.
The Speaker adjourned the session till 10am on Thursday (today).