LAHORE          -          Opposition staged a walkout after pointing quorum on Monday to spoil the treasury plan of getting The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Bill 2019 passed from the provincial legislature.

The treasury, however, managed to lay one ordinance and introduce three bills which were sent to the relevant standing committees for submitting reports within two months.

The session started one hour and 45 minutes behind the scheduled time with Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi in the chair.

During the government business, Law Minister Raja Basharat laid the Punjab Village Panchayats and Neighbourhood Councils (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 and introduced Baba Guru Nanak University Nankana Sahib Bill 2020, Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment Bill) 2020 and Kohsar University, Murree Bill 2020. The chair referred the bills to the relevant standing committee with the direction to submit reports within two months.

As the Law Minister presented The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Bill 2019 for consideration, PML-N’s Khalil Tahir Sandhu pointed quorum that led to adjournment of session till Tuesday (today) at 3pm.

Earlier, Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid admitted that MRI machine at Jinnah Hospital was dysfunctional for the last few months due to unavailability of Helium gas.

During question hour on Specialized Healthcare and Medical education Department, she said that the government had placed order for the purchase of gas from abroad. She said the government was committed to provide quality healthcare facilities to the masses. Accusing the previous regime of not paying due attention to health sector, she said that the government had purchased 272 ventilators. She urged her colleagues on the opposition benches to avoid point scoring and praise the present regime for good steps.

To a question of PML-N’s Hina Pervaiz Butt that why healthcare providers were on roads when the government was not privatizing the institutions, she said the bill was aimed at improving service delivery. “This is not the privatization of hospitals as boards. Boards will look after the financial and administrative matters of hospitals,” she said.

PPP’s Makhdoom Usman said that the government had claimed allocation of Rs40 billion and construction of nine new hospitals in southern Punjab. He said that those belonging to South Punjab Mehaz were not seen anywhere. He said that Rahim Yar Khan was on top among districts during Parvez Elahi regime. The district, he said, was now on 36th place.

PML-N’s Ishrat Ashraf said that RYK needed a children hospital as the district even got patients from Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

Dr Yasmin Rashid said that building of Sheikh Zayed Hospital was dilapidated. “We are going to construct building for Children’s Hospital there. Funds will be allocated in the coming budget,” she said, adding, early completion of this hospital was a priority of the government.