LAHORE - Treasury as well as opposition members of the Punjab Assembly were taken aback when they were informed on Wednesday that there are 4,500 vacancies in the Elite Force, which is sort of special police used for rescue operations, raids and high-risk searches, counter-terrorism operations and VIP security duties. The information was given by Mian Tariq Mehmud during the question hour.

The first session of the New Year started after a delay of more than 70 minutes. Opposition legislators criticised the government on many counts. The house was told that some 8,000 cameras have been installed in the metropolis under the Safe City and all are fully functional. These cameras were helpful in tracing the accused involved in blasts near Punjab Assembly and IT Tower.

Food Minister Bilal Yasin claimed that action was being taken against the millers not making payments to cane suppliers. He said the chief minister had directed him to arrest such people, but he was exercising restraint as such a step would render many a people out of job.

The minister said he had visited all mills in the province and that the DCs and DPOs accompanied him during the visits.

Opposition leader Mian Mehmudur Rashid disputed the food minister’s claims and said the cane gowers were not being paid. He also alleged that 90 per cent mills were not making payments according to the government’s rates.

The house was also informed that a Medical Sullies Authority had been set up in the province to ensure quality medicines and medical equipment to people. The authority would have its headquarters in Lahore while its offices would also be there in other districts. A number of other bills were also presented in the house. During the treasury business the opposition staged a walkout. After the question hour, PTI’s Murad Raas pointed outthat the hoyuse was not in quorum.  However, the head count belied his claim.