LAHORE  -    Punjab cabinet, which met here on Friday with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair, decided to ban pumping out water of ground without licence.

The meetin also approved a number of draft bills including local government and water commission. The cabinet sanctioned subsidy on edible items during the holy month of Ramazan.

Under the Ramzan Package, the government will set up 309 Ramzan Bazaars across the province besides arranging over two thousand ‘dastar khawan’  during the holy month.

The Chief Minister said that more subsidies will be given, as compared to the past, to provide substantial relief to the common man and the whole team will be proactively engaged during Ramzan-ul-Mubarak. The essential items will be available in Ramzan Bazaars on subsidized rates, he added.

Under the proposed Water Act, 2019, the government will establish a water resources commission under the chair of the Chief Minister to stop pumping out water without a valid license.

The meeting decided to provide compensation to the farmers whose crops got damaged during the recent rains. The CM issued directives to hold survey for provision of financial aid to the farming community. 

The cabinet approved the financing of population welfare programme 2017-20 through public sector development program and funds were also approved for devolved vertical programs of health and population welfare sectors. It also approved temporary regulations 2019 under regulatory steps for immediate eradication of dengue disease.

It okayed the Punjab Local Government Act 2019, Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2019 and amendments in the second schedule of Services Act 2012 of Punjab Sales Tax. Punjab Witness Protection Act 2018 was also approved and a witness protection board would be constituted under this act.

Also, the meeting accorded approval to Punjab Animal Health Bill 2019 and amendments in benevolent fund rules were approved as well for reconsideration of eligibility criteria of monthly grants and increase in grant money. The meeting approved to transfer of land for 720-megawatt Karot Power Project and affairs pertaining to the royalty of liquid petroleum gas according to the market value of LPG were also approved besides the establishment of Punjab University of Technology at Rasool in Mandi Bahauddin.

Meeting approved the release of Rs10 billion for the government guarantee and debt authority in favour of Punjab Thermal Power Pvt. Ltd.

Amendment to Punjab Electronic Stamp Papers Rules 2016 was given approval as well.

Meanwhile, special audit reports (2016-17) of Auditor General of Pakistan about the Punjab government accounts were also presented to the cabinet.

After the approval of the cabinet, these reports would be presented to the Punjab Assembly.

The cabinet also accorded approval to give the status of Tehsil Koh-e-Suleman to the tribal area of DG Khan and decision was also made to allocate five seats for the students belonging to the tribal areas of DG Khan and Rajanpur in Ghazi Medical College DG Khan.

The meeting decided to close down South Punjab Forest Company. It approved the appointment of the board of directors, members of Parks and Horticulture Authority Faisalabad and reduced rates scheme under Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act 2012.

 The cabinet meeting accorded approval to appoint the new president of Bank of Punjab and an increase in salary of the engineering staff of the Irrigation Department was given the principle approval. The enhancement in salaries’ case will be presented before the cabinet committee on finance.

Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that provincial ministers, advisers and special assistants should visit health, special education and other institutions so that these institutions could be further improved.

Similarly, ministers and other representatives will also visit wheat procurement centers.  The next cabinet meeting will be held after 15 days. Provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants, chief secretary, IG police and provincial secretaries attended the meeting.