LAHORE  - The Punjab Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed the bill for the regularisation of 48,000 lady health workers and 1,947 health supervisors.

The Punjab Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Authority Bill was passed by the assembly as the opposition withdrew a proposed amendment to it.

The lady health workers programme was suspended after the passage of the 18th Amendment as the health issues became provincial subjects. Due to the absence of a proper legislation at provincial assembly level, the issue of lady health workers was hanging in balance.

The PA continued pre-budget debate on Thursday amid criticism of the government for bad governance, corruption and dictatorial attitude. Speaking on this occasion, PTI's Mian Aslam Iqbal opined the government should associate standing committees with the budget-making process instead of only relying on the bureaucracy which was unaware of the people’s problems. He said all the poor people above 65 years should be given stipend by registering them through Nadra lest they should face suffering in old age.

Aslam Iqbal also pointed out the issue of peacock’s hunting by a cat at the Raiwind palace of Sharifs, which resulted in suspension of 21 policemen on duty to guard the pets of the rulers.

He further said the entire police force had been deployed on VIP duties, leaving the masses at the mercy of criminals. The ruling elite, comprising 1,500 families, were enjoying luxuries while 180 million poor people were paying taxes at every stage of life, he said.

Referring to the youth festival, he said the Punjab government was spending billions of rupees to make useless records while the country’s children were deprived of basic needs.

Another PTI MPA Dr Murad Ross raised the issue of shortage of graveyards in Lahore and said the government had completely forgotten to provide a proper graveyard in Lahore.

The House discussed the Revenue Department during the question-answer session. The parliamentary secretary concerned informed the MPAs that the project of computerisation of land record was being carried out with the estimated cost of Rs 11 billion and it would be completed in the current year.

On a point of order, Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan tendered apology for passing objectionable remarks against MPA Rahila Anwar of PTI. Mashhood, however, clarified that he had said nothing objectionable against the female MPA during Wednesday’s session. He said he had come to the House only to clarify that he had great respect for his female colleagues. “I had passed no objectionable remarks, but even then if anything has hurt the female MPA, he tenders apology for it. After that, Rahila Anwar ended her boycott.

A number of adjournment motions were moved in the House. An adjournment motion was moved by treasury member Sheikh Ala-ud-Din against the shifting of Badami Bagh fruit and vegetable market to some other place. Parliamentary Secretary Nazar Hussain Gondal told the House that due to traffic issues, the market was going to be shifted to Lakhodair where land had been acquired. He said a master plan was being devised. The chair adjourned the session till Friday (today) 9am.