LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced free education and stipends for the children who shift to education leaving brick kiln working.

The CM at a high level meeting yesterday announced the package for children as a government step towards curbing bonded labour especially wherein kids are engaged.

The chief minister also gave approval to the draft ordinance for eliminating child labour from brick kilns. Under the ordinance, kiln owners involved in child labour will be awarded up to six months imprisonment.

On violation, there will be a summary trail of kiln owners and on being guilty they would be fined up to Rs five lakh and the kiln will also be sealed on child labour.

The package approved by the meeting provides totally free of charge education, a special stipend of Rs 1,000 per month for every child going to school and an annual monetary assistance of Rs 2,000 for the parents after they agree to get the kid admitted to school and free medical treatment to the whole family. The government will also bear transport expenses of the children going to the school located away from their home.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister vowed that child labour will be eliminated from kilns at every cost and concerned institutions will have to work with commitment for this purpose. He said that committees will be constituted at district level for checking child labour at brick kilns.

He said that DCO of every district will be head of the committee and DCO and DPO will check kilns regularly in their respective districts and submit reports. Assistant Commissioner and SDPO will also check the kilns at tehsil level.

Shahbaz Sharif said that announcement of package for eliminating child labour from brick kilns is a very important step. He said that under this package, books, stationary, uniform, shoes and school bags will be provided to the children free of cost.

The chief minister directed that 100 percent enrollment of the children working at brick kilns should be ensured and the proposal of installing CCTV cameras for checking of brick kilns should also be considered.

Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Rana Mashhood Ahmed, Spokesman Punjab government Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, concerned secretaries and senior officials attended the meeting.

CM TALENT PROGRAMME: The Punjab government yesterday took decision to launch “Chief Minister’s Talent Scholarship Programme” which will provide scholarships to the eligible students of the government universities to get higher education at the best universities across the world.

Under this programme, 100 will get scholarships to get higher education at the equal number of top universities of the world. Decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, here.

“Youth are the future of Pakistan and the Programme is a useful investment in the future of the country,” the chief minister told the meeting. He said the students who meet the criteria set by the international universities, would be awarded scholarships.

He said that empowerment of youth and imparting them modern day knowledge is the need of the hour and the government is taking solid steps in this behalf. He said the government is not only sending the top position holders on study tours abroad but it was also providing opportunities of higher education to talented students in foreign universities through Punjab Educational Endowment Fund.

“Chief Minister’s Talent Scholarship Programme is another revolutionary step of Punjab government which will enable the youth to study at the best universities of the world and play their role for strengthening the national economy”, the CM added.

The chief minister issued instructions for setting up a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Punjab and directed the committee to present final recommendations regarding the procedure for awarding scholarships under thye Programme, selection of subjects and other issues.

He directed the officials to prepare recommendations for providing scholarships to 1000 boy and girl students at local universities.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government decided to send 350 students to China on the government expenses in the first phase to learn Chinese language. Selection of the students would be made through a proper channel and meeting the standard set for this two-year course in China.

Students of Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir are also eligible to compete under the programme. Another 300 students will be sent to China in the second phase.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over a high level meeting that reviewed the programme of sending the students to China.

“Like other programmes the government, 10 percent extra quota has been allocated for boy and girl students of south Punjab in this programme,” the chief minister told the meeting.

Shahbaz Sharif directed the officials to pick up best universities of China for learning Chinese and completing work for implementing the programme at the earliest.