LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has approved Ramazan Package for providing relief to the people of the province.

Under the Ramazan Package, flour bags will be provided to the citizens at concessionary rate in Ramazan Bazaars and open market and the provincial government will give a subsidy of Rs 3.5 billion on this scheme. Flour bag of 20 kg will be available in open market at 90 rupees less than the market price and in Ramazan Bazaar at Rs. 130 below the market rate.

The chief minister gave approval to this package while presiding over a meeting through video link at Civil Secretariat, on Thursday. Speaking on the occasion, he said that like previous years, the government would also give a special package during the holy month of Ramazan for providing relief to the masses.

He said that under this package, flour, sugar, pulses, ghee, vegetables and fruit would be available to the citizens at concessionary rate during Ramazan. He said that 318 Sastay Ramazan Bazaars will be set up in the province while 17 Model Bazaars will also be converted into Sastay Ramazan Bazaars. He said that sugar will be available at eight rupees less than the market rate in Ramazan Bazaars.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the agriculture department would set up 335 fare price shops while 147 green channels would also be opened where farmers would directly sell their produce. He said that chicken and eggs would also be available at below the market rate. He said that Utility Stores would also establish its stalls in Ramazan Bazaars.

The chief minister directed that indiscriminate action should be taken against hoarders and profiteers and the elements involved in hoarding of pulses and other essential items should be behind the bars. He said that all ministers and secretaries would pay visits to check prices of essential commodities during Ramazan.

Shahbaz Sharif said that Ramazan Bazaars will start functioning three days before the start of the holy month. He said that no compromise will be made on the quality of Sasta Atta. He said that stalls of Utility Store will also be set up in Ramazan Bazaars and quality essential items, fruits and vegetables will be supplied on cheaper rate in Ramazan Bazaars.

The chief minister directed there should not be any shortage of essential commodities, fruits or vegetables and in case of threat of shortage, arrangements be made immediately for their import. He said that no excuse will be acceptable in the provision of relief to the masses during Ramazan and no compromise will be made on the quality of edible items, fruits, vegetables and pulses.

The chief minister further directed that the District Coordination Officers which have uncovered stocks of pulses will be fully encouraged while action will be taken against administrative officers making wrong declarations in this regard. He said that two thousand Madni dasterkhawans will be set up in the province where free Aftari will be available.

A delegation of Asian Development Bank (ADB) led by its Vice President Wencai Zhang called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, on Thursday. It was agreed in the meeting to promote cooperation between Punjab government and ADB in skill development, energy, transport, infrastructure, small dams, education and other sectors.

The delegation condemned Karachi tragedy and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families.

Talking to the delegation, the chief minister said: “ADB is a big partner of Pakistan and a number of projects in various sectors are being implemented in the country. The government wants to further promote cooperation with ADB. Pakistan is facing shortage of electricity and energy crisis has badly affected the economy.”

“Government is utilising maximum resources for controlling this problem and energy projects have been given highest importance in the historic economic package of China,” the CM held.

The chief minister said that skilled manpower played an important role in national economy and the Punjab government was paying due attention to skills development. He said that Skill Development Programme was continuing in the province.

Shahbaz Sharif said that ADB should consider cooperation for imparting skills to five lakh youth annually. He said that provincial government was implementing a comprehensive programme for the provision of modern, safe and economical transport facilities to the citizens.

During the meeting Asian Development Bank gave indication to work on projects of billions of dollars in various sectors in Punjab during the next three years upon which the chief minister issued instructions for the establishment of a high level committee to discuss details of the projects. The committee will submit its report next month.

Asian Development Bank Vice President Wencai Zhang said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is serving the people of the province with determination and commitment.