LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that provision of potable water to the masses is the priority of the government and solid measures are being taken for this purpose. He said besides rehabilitation of water supply schemes in the province, new schemes are also being initiated which will be completed expeditiously for the supply of safe water to the people as early as possible. He was addressing a meeting with regard to water supply in rural areas at Chief Ministers Secretariat here on Friday. He said the project of installation of water filtration plants at union council level will soon be started under a phased programme with the cooperation of federal government and 4000 such plants will be installed in Punjab. He issued instructions for setting up of Water and Sanitation Regulatory Authority for Urban and Rural areas for the provision of clean water to the masses. National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Engineer Khuram Dastagir Khan, Members Provincial Assembly Malik Waris Kalloo, Mumtaz Jajja, Rana Abdul Rauf, Rana Muhammad Afzal, Col (r) Naveed Iqbal Sajid, Tanvir Aslam Malik, Ali Noor Niazi, Ramzan Siddique Bhatti, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Public Health, Secretary Local Government as well as senior officers of departments concerned were present. The chief minister said the non-availability of potable water in urban and rural areas was a serious problem and there was need for prompt measures for its solution. He said due to use of contaminated water in urban and rural areas, occurrence of communicable diseases was on the rise. He said as compared to the cities, the condition of water supply schemes in rural areas was pathetic and he had personally observed this fact during his visits. He directed in addition to rehabilitation of old water supply schemes, due attention should also be paid to the new schemes and public representatives should also be consulted in this regard. He said installation of water filtration plants would soon start in Punjab with the cooperation of federal government and agreement had been reached with the concerned companies in this regard. He said it would be up to Assembly Members to use the grant allocated to them for health and water supply on any one project keeping in view needs of the people of their respective areas. He said legislation would also be undertaken for the improvement of water supply system and Water & Sanitation Regulatory Authority would also be constituted for this purpose. He directed water supply schemes should be completed in a transparent manner. He warned that action would be taken if any scheme were not completed within stipulated period. Earlier, Secretary Public Health while giving a briefing regarding water supply scheme in rural areas informed that a sum of Rs 6274 million would be spent on the rehabilitation of 1305 water supply schemes while Rs 5785 would be utilised during the current fiscal year on the improvement and completion of 852 rural water supply schemes. He said it showed that Punjab government was paying full attention to the projects of water supply in rural areas. Assembly members also gave their proposals regarding water supply schemes.