LAHORE - Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif here yesterday said the government initiated development schemes to bridge ‘gap between the poor and the rich’.

He also directed the public departments to ensure third-party audit about the use of public money on the development projects and also the schemes to supply potable water to the people be completed within next two years.

He was speaking to a meeting on development projects in the province.

Shehbaz directed the departments to ensure timely completion of all public welfare project maintaining high standard of quality and transparency.

He said the government is spending Rs70billion to provide clean and potable water to the rural people in the province. The Project was kick-started in South Punjab while Rs 150biloin are being spent on constructing that repairing rural roads in Punjab.

The CM said that provision of comfortable and inexpensive transport facilities to the people is one of the top priorities of the government. Mentioning about the Orange Line Metro Train, he said, this project will not only change lifestyle of the poor in positive way but also transport culture of the province. The project is fast under completion while every penny on it is being honestly and transparently, he added.

Shehbaz said the government is spending billions of rupees on education and health as these two are the vital public sector projects necessary to built a civilized and healthy society with the leadership qualities.

The Chief Minister special focus is being given to imparting quality education and financially assisting the needy students so that they could not lag behind others of the elite class due to lack of resources and test their abilities fully.

He said that programmes like Daanish School, Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, distribution of laptops and encouragement of talented students are leaving a positive impact on education sector. He said that all Daanish schools have been set up in backward areas for promoting quality education and these schools have opened the doors of quality education to the children of poor families.

Shehbaz said that more than 1.5 lakh less privileged talented students are studying with the help of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He said that Punjab government has diverted the resources towards less developed areas as progress of these areas is priority of the government. He said that after metro bus projects in Rawalpindi-Islamabad and Lahore, work is being carried out expeditiously on metro bus project in Multan and resources are being spent transparently and honestly on the welfare of the masses.

The Chief Minister said that the funds saved through austerity policy and economic discipline, are being spent on the welfare of masses. He said that resources of the nation are being spent on the projects aimed at minimizing the gulf between the rich and the poor. He said that it is basic responsibility of departments concerned to ensure timely completion of development schemes. He said that a third-party audit policy is being strictly implemented for ensuring transparency in development projects. He said that such development projects and programmes are being implemented which would benefit maximum number of poor people. Provincial Ministers Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Advisor on Economic Affairs Dr. Ejaz Nabi, Chief Secretary Punjab, Chairman Planning & Development and concerned secretaries attended the meeting whereas Secretary Excise participated in the meeting through video link from DCO Office Rahim Yar Khan and Chairman Punjab Revenue Authority from DCO Office Multan.

Ministers meet CM: Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif here yesterday separately met PML-Z chief Ijazul Haq, Minister for Defence Production Rana Hussain and Federal Minister for State and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch.

The Chief Minister discussed with them matters of mutual interests and political situation in the country.

Talking to Ijazul Haq, the CM said the PML-N, always kept national interest above everything. With the hectic efforts of the PML-N, he said, the country was put on path of progress. The Government is quite sincere about the elimination of the terrorism and to meet other challenges at present confronting the nation. He said compare to 2013 when the PML-N took over, the country today is much safer, stable and economically sound.

Interacting with Defence Minister Rana Tanvir Hussain, the Chief Minister said that in Pakistan as visualized by Qauid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, there is no room for terrorism and extremism as such the government is determined to root out these evil in our the society. He said establishing the society on tolerance and forbearance is mission of the PML-N government which it would fulfill at every cost. He said if peace needs to be ensured, promoting the tradition of tolerance is a must.

The Chief Minister also appreciated sacrifices of the army men and security persons for the sake of peace in the country while countering the terrorists. Sacrifices of these martyrs will not go waste, the Chief Minister said adding, till elimination of the last terrorist fighting against the enemies of peace and prosperity of the country will continue. He said we have rendered sacrifice of thousands of lives and we would go to the last end to ensure peace and eliminating the terrorists.

The Chief Minister told the Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch that public service is the mission of the PML-N government and it would not succumb to the pressure which a handful are exerting to halt the wheel of progress but their designs are doomed to fail. He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to be key in the development and progressive of the country as such this project is being fast completed. The multi billions projects, he said, is a game changer in the region that would also turn fate of Pakistan in a big way.

He said that those who oppose development projects are in fact, enemy of the country. People of Pakistan failed them in the past and also in the last local government elections they again passed verdict against the enemies of the progress and development of the country. The PML-N, he said, considers service to the masses as worship and would not leave any stone unturned to achieve the destination of progress.