LAHORE     -Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal and Punjab Chief Secretary Jawwad Rafique Malik, on Saturday, presided over a meeting in connection with launching a crackdown on those involved in black-marketing and hoarding of essential medicines.

Commissioner Lahore Division Saif Anjum, CCPO Lahore Zulfiqar Hameed and officers concerned attended the meeting, while Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Punjab Shoaib Dastgir, Divisional Commissioners and Regional Police Officers (RPOs) participated through video link.

The meeting decided to take ‘stringent measures’ to ensure supply and availability of essential drugs at reasonable prices.  Mian Aslam Iqbal said that steps were being taken to provide the best medical facilities to the coronavirus patients. He said that all public and private hospitals would be bound to implement the decision of the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) to freeze the charges for ventilators at the rates of February 2020.

It was decided that in view of the increasing cases of COVID-19, the federal government would be approached to procure 10,000 to 15,000 oxygen cylinders and the oxygen manufacturing companies would be exempted from power outages.

The Chief Secretary directed IG Punjab that the vehicles transporting oxygen would be allowed to run for 24 hours and these vehicles should not be stopped anywhere in the province.

The meeting reviewed the situation in the lockeddown areas and issued instructions to strictly enforce restriction of wearing face-masks throughout the province and take action in case of violation. The Chief Secretary also asked the administrative officers to prepare a record of sugar stocks in the province and submit a report within three days.

Punjab imposes Section-144 on hoarding of

oxygen cylinders

The Punjab government has imposed Section-144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) on hoarding of oxygen cylinders across the province on the request of Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&PSHD) Punjab .

According to the P&SHD sources on Saturday, the Home Department issued a circular in this regard.  Now hoarding and profiteering of oxygen cylinders, concentrators and pulse oxymeters would be deemed as a crime in the province.

Secretary P&SHD M Usman said that COVID-19 patients were suffering due to hoarding and profiteering of the essential items.  He said that Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was monitoring the COVID-19 situation himself, adding that Section-144 would remain in place for two months on these products.