LAHORE - The parliamentary secretary informed the Punjab Assembly yesterday that legislation is in the pipeline to check quackery through strict punishments and heavy fines.

The House presided over by Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan learned from the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Khwaja Imran Nazir that the government has made it mandatory for hakeem and homeopathic doctors to get themselves registered with the government provided they are holding certification of Tibb Council, health Council and PMDC.

While crackdown has been launched on those who are running quackery, Khawja Imran said while responding to a question. He said the in 2011, 430 quacks were arrested and jailed for different terms in addition to recovery from them to the tune of Rs 41lack under the Drug Act 1976.

However, he admitted shops of the quacks were sealed but they got them desealed and second time they got stay from Lahore High Court when the shops were sealed again. Now we have moved appeal before the Supreme Court, he added.

Responding to question from the PTI’s Mian Aslam Iqbal that some radio channels were airing obscene and objections programmes of the hakeems, the PS said it is a serious matter and he would know from relevant department whether this fact has been brought to the knowledge of Pemra and if not he would asked it to do it.

Dr Farzana of the Treasury said the people in the rural areas are most affected from quackery as the major influx of kidney patients from the village to the city was of those who were treated by the quacks.

Imran said direction has been passed to the DCO to check this practice while task forces have also been given the task of finding out quacks in the villages and take them to task.

The chair referred to the Communication and Works Committee of the Assembly the matter to probe the substandard construction of the Toba Tek Singh District Hospital. This newly constructed building with crores of rupees was declared unfit for use by the Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT) and Engineer. One of the four halls of the Hospital has begun to lose the strength from day one when the roof and the walls created cracks.

To a question on the institute of Neuro Sciences at Jinnah Hospital Lahore, the PS said second phase of the 500-bed institute, which has to cost over Rs2.7billion, was under completion and the same would be functional next year. However he told the House that the proposed cost of Rs2247million set for third phase has been slashed to Rs 700million.

The chair sent to Health Committee another matter relating to purchase of equipment and machinery for DHQ Hospital Sahiwal.

The PS said to a question 30 to 30 per cent Basic Health Units (BHUs) in villages were yet to be set up while policy was underway to build those in the newly carved out Union Councils.

He also said they had reached an agreement with the Young Doctors Association (YDA) for appointing the doctors in far flung area and that they had also asked the Punjab Public Service Commission to give relaxation in the upper age limit for this purpose.

In the government business, the House had to open debate on the annual reports of Punjab Pension Fund for Year 2010-11, and 2011-12. As the Parliamentary Secretary Rana Babar was on his legs to open the debate, Opposition member Sadia Sohail Rana pointed out quorum which was found incomplete after the Chair gave five minutes to the members to gather in the House.

The speaker then adjourned the session for today at 10am.