Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that when playgrounds become inhabited, the hospitals become deserted. He said that extracurricular activities are as important for the youth as the academic activities. He said that information technology is an important mean of apprising the youth of the latest knowledge. He said that Punjab government has decided to distribute more than one lakh laptops this year as well among the youth at a cost of four billion rupees for promoting awareness in them about modern technology. He said these laptops will be given purely on merit. He said that the government had also distributed more than one lakh laptops last year with a sum of rupees four billion among boy and girl students on merit and this youth-friendly policy of Punjab government is also being followed by other provinces.
He expressed these views while inaugurating a modern information technology centre at Punjab Sport Board during his visit to Hockey Stadium, early in the morning today. Organizer of the Youth Festival and Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Secretary Sports Haroon Ahmed, Director General Sports, Usman Anwar and other concerned officers were also present on the occasion. Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that IT Centre established at Punjab Sports Board has been interlinked with 36 districts and 137 tehsils of the province. He said that the contact of the IT centre with internet and international media has also been made possible. He said that Sports Board Punjab is such a government institution of the province to which all information is being provided through e-mail. He said that 24/7 helpline has also been established at the IT centre. He said that the facility of chatting with social media has also been provided on the helpline while the number of Punjab Sports Board fans on facebook has exceeded 75 thousand. Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that by announcing youth policy, the Punjab government has provided a platform to the young generation to display its talent. Similarly, he said, Punjab Youth Festival 2012 is being arranged and the activities of this event will extend to union council, tehsil, district, division and provincial level. He said that Punjab Youth Festival will be an unprecedented mega event which will give a new spirit and enthusiasm to the masses. He said that in order to promote this festival, delegates have been sent to various districts so that they could ensure participation of maximum youth in the festival for providing them opportunity to display their talent. He said that women comprise a large portion of the country’s population and shown their talent in the sports and other sectors. He said that an opportunity has also been provided to women to participate in healthy activities and separate grounds are being developed for them.
The Chief Minister was given a detailed briefing regarding the aims and objectives of the modern IT centre at the Sports Board. He was informed that around 1000 phones calls are being received daily at the IT centre through the helpline 111-333-727. The Chief Minister appreciated provision of modern facilities at the IT centre.