Multan - Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) South Punjab Zahid Akhtar Zaman had said that establishment of sub secretariat was first step towards the South Punjab province. “It’s first step and now the province will be created soon too,” he added while talking to the media in his first interaction with journalists here on Saturday. He added that the Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan fulfilled promise he made with the people of South Punjab by setting up sub secretariat. He added that the CM and Chief Secretary Punjab had given him the task to serve the people of South Punjab and he would fulfill this duty with utmost responsibility.

The ACS disclosed that paperless technology was being introduced in the South Punjab sub secretariat so that time spent on movement of files could be saved. He further revealed that initially the government had decided to appoint additional secretaries in this secretariat who were under the secretaries sitting in Lahore but now this decision had been changed and all empowered secretaries would be appointed. He said that initially more important and public related departments were being shifted to the secretariat while all provincial departments would be moved to South Punjab in phases later on. “The departments currently shifted to sub secretariat include education, health, irrigation, planning and development, finance, communication and work,” he added.

Answering a question, he revealed that he would sit in Bawalpur and Multan two days a week each and at least one day Dera Ghazi Khan. He said that Punjab’s 33 per cent budget had been allocated for the South Punjab.

“Now the development schemes to be completed with these funds will be made and approved here. It will expedite the pace of development in South Punjab,” he added. He said although the secretariat was being set up at two places in Multan and Bahawalpur, the officers sitting in both offices would be fully empowered. He said that the survey to select buildings for the secretariat offices in Bahawalpur and Multan were underway and the secretaries of different departments would sit at the offices of their relevant departments till completion of secretariat building.

Meanwhile, chairing a meeting of heads of different departments, the ACS said that the government was working on its plan to shift all provincial powers to South Punjab and the South Punjab secretariat would be all powerful. He directed the heads of all departments to arrange offices for their concerned secretary, additional secretary and two deputy secretaries at their offices until the building for the sub secretariat was arranged. He declared that the secretaries of P&D as well as finance departments would also sit in South Punjab secretariat. He added that the development projects for South Punjab would be prepared by the local P&D Department approved locally by the finance department, ending the need to send files to Lahore for approval. He said that there would be one secretary for School and Higher Education departments. Similarly, Primary Health and Specialised Health departments would also have one secretary, he added.