LAHORE - The post-budget debate in Punjab Assembly on Thursday was fruitful in the sense that for the first time since inception of the coalition government, the Opposition by and large focused on issues rather than wasting time in usual rhetoric, as had been the case in previous two years when it was in its 'infancy. It was, perhaps, due to this reason that Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, who hardly finds any thing good in the Opposition, was courteous enough to acknowledge the substance in Opposition Leader Ch Zaheeruddins speech and said on flour of the House that government would try to take into account the points and concerns raised by him about the new budgetary proposals. The Treasury also set a good tradition by not causing any interruption during the course of his speech. Unlike previous year, Ch Zaheer seemed well prepared and talked only on facts and figures taken from budget documents and avoided any harsh comment against his political opponents. He pointed out some areas which had been neglected by the government in terms of reduced budgetary allocations, having direct bearing on peoples lives. It was no political point scoring by Ch Zaheer if he criticised the government for not spending a penny on brick lining of canals and small watercourses (Khhalas) in the past two years. His concerns about IRSA affairs and Punjab governments inability to plead Punjabs case, also seemed to be genuine to many parliamentarians even those sitting on treasury benches. It sounded like parroting Punjab governments version when he called for reconstitution of IRSA to protect rights of Punjab province. However, his demand for third party audit of sasti roati scheme, might have irked many on the treasury benches including the law minister. He drew chairs attention towards Rs 50 million decrease in Access to Justice Programme which received an allocation of Rs 459 million last year. Similarly, he also showed his concern over reduction of funds for agriculture research from Rs 1 billion in the previous year to Rs 960 million in preset budget. Representing south Punjab, Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood also raised some solid points about discrepancy in distribution of Punjab resources among its districts quoting from a UN report about per capital utilisation of expenditure. Giving facts and figures, Makhdoom succeeded in establishing the point that Punjabs development expenditure is heavily concentrated on major cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Gujranwala. He told the House that per capita development expenditure in rest of the districts was below Rs5000, with Jhang, TT Singh and Layya having the lowest rating. Perhaps for reasons of political expediency, he toned down his demand for a separate province comprising the southern belt saying till the dream is materialised, the government should ensure fair utilisation of Rs 54 billion earmarked for south Punjab in the present budget. Casting doubts over intensions of the bureaucracy to give fair treatment to the southern region, Makhdoom from RY Khan insisted that unless and until Multan and Bahawalpur have their separate assemblies, the problem of unequal distribution of resources could not addressed adequately on permanent basis.