Lahore : Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif presided over a four hours long meeting of provincial cabinet here today which gave approval to the unprecedented programme of provision of interest-free loans to small cultivators with the help of modern technology.
The meeting also gave approval to the agreements between Punjab government and financial institutions for providing interest-free loans. Moreover, release of funds for several development projects, programmes and development schemes was also approved in the meeting.
Provincial cabinet was also briefed on security arrangements for the protection of life and property of people during Muharram-ul-Haram, reforms in police system and the use of modern technology for improving law and order.
The Chief Minister said that front desks have been set up in 202 police stations in Punjab while these would be established in all police stations of the province by December 31, 2016. He said that geo-tagging of seminaries and mosques has been completed. He said that Dolphin Force will be launched in all big cities of Punjab after Lahore and work has been started on the project. He said that after provincial metropolis Safe City project will be started in six other cities including Multan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad.
The Chief Minister said that government has given unprecedented Kissan Package for the uplift of agriculture sector and increase in per acre yield and modern technology will be used for economic empowerment of small cultivators. He said that a programme has been evolved first time in the history of the region for providing interest-free loans to small cultivators and five lakh farmers will benefit from this programme. He said that interest-free loans of 70 billion rupees will be given to small cultivators this year and they will get this loan immediately through smart phones. He said that agri pass book of farmers has also been digitalized.
The Chief Minister said that it has also been decided to set up Khadim-e-Punjab Agri Endowment Fund with a sum of two billion rupees.
The cabinet was also briefed on the pace of Sahiwal Coal Power Project, solar power project set up at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur and Bhikki Gas Power Plant, Sheikhupura. The cabinet endorsed the decision to privatize solar projects of one hundred megawatts set up by Punjab government with its own resources. Shehbaz Sharif said that 1320-megawatt Sahiwal Coal Power Project will start production from June 2017 instead of December 2017.
He said that China has described the speed at which work is being carried out on the project as Punjab Speed, which is an honour for the whole country. He said that destiny of the nation can be changed if all departments work at this speed. He said that 300-megawatt solar project at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur is adding electricity to the national grid.
He said that Punjab government has decided to privatize one hundred megawatt solar project set up by the provincial government with its own resources. He said that work is in progress expeditiously on 1180-megawatt gas power project at Bhikki and electricity unit will be available to the people for 6.36.
He said that costly power project were set up in the past due to which the price of per unit increased whereas the completion of the projects set up by the present government will result in elimination of loadshedding and availability of low-cost power to the people.
The Punjab cabinet gave approval to setting up of Finance & Development and Legislative standing committees for dealing with Rules of Business. Supplementary grants issued from July 1, 2017 were also approved by the cabinet. Provincial cabinet also granted approval to release of development budget to administrative departments for the second time during financial year 2016-17 and the mechanism for identifying development schemes, their implementation and monitoring.
Furthermore, the cabinet granted approval to setting up of offices of District Population Welfare Officers in Nankana Sahib and Chiniot, reorganization of Regional Training Institutes of Multan and Lahore as well as 30 posts and 25 new vacancies for capacity-building of Population Welfare Training Institute Lahore.
Shahbaz Sharif said that potable water programme has been started by the Punjab government costing 300 billion rupees and 30 billion rupees are being spent on this programme during current fiscal year. The meeting also gave approval to release of funds for PHA Rawalpindi for security arrangements in public parks, supplementary grant for replacement of air-conditioners in Nishter Hospital Multan, vacancies of biomedical engineers in teaching and district headquarter hospitals, grant for Shalimar Hospital Lahore, release of funds for Gujranwala and Sialkot Waste Management Companies during current year, funds for construction of Pir Noor Badsha Bridge, agreement for the use of water for 720 megawatt Kerot hydro power project besides supplementary grants of 231.754 million rupees under different heads for Punjab Public Service Commission.
Cabinet sub-committee will review amendments in Police Rules 1934 and Punjab Population Policy 2016. Provincial Ministers, Special Assistants, Advisors, Chief Secretary and senior officials attended the meeting.