LAHORE - After the visit of the First Lady Bushra Bibi to the social welfare centre Lahore, Social Welfare & Bait-ul-Maal Department Secretary Ambreen Raza has initiated steps to improve the condition of the dilapidated centres.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar too had visited the welfare complex and issued directions to the officers to make the institutions state of the art. He had also ordered provision of missing facilities at the welfare organizations being run by the Social Welfare Department.

Following visits of the first lady and Punjab chief minister, the Social Welfare Department has moved a summary to the CM Office, seeking top office’s nod to go ahead.

The CM Office instead of approving the summary constituted a committee comprising of the Planning and Development Chairman, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary and others. The committee after reviewing the issue would give recommendations.

Official sources told The Nation that the CM had visited the institutions of Social Welfare Department on September 26, including Kashana; Home for Needy and Destitute Girls, College Road, Township, Lahore; Nasheman Homes for Disabled; Social Welfare Complex Umar Chowk, Township, Lahore; Gehwara Abandoned and Destitute Babies Home; Social Welfare Complex, Umar Chowk, Township, Lahore; Aafiat Old Age Home; Dar ul Sakoon Half Way Home and Chaman Centre For Mentally Challenged Children, Lahore.

During the course of inspection, CM Buzdar was not satisfied with the condition of the building and the entire set-up. He observed certain deficiencies and directed the concerned authorities to take immediate action for smooth functioning of the above mentioned institution. He said that requisite measures should be taken within shortest span of time.

As per the summary moved to the CM Office, the issues observed by the Chief Minister include shortage of staff, especially care givers, janitorial staff and gardeners, inadequate repair and maintenance of buildings, inadequate budget for basic services, non-availability of in-house professional institutional facilities, especially child specialist doctor.

Pursuant to directions of the Chief Minister, the department took action immediately, including review of shortage of staff, review of allocation of budget, strategy for maintenance, cleanliness and repair of the institutions.

The department had also made proposals through the summary. It proposed immediate filling of 39 vacant posts of the institutions visited by the Chief Minister. The department may hire contingency paid staff, daily wagers against these posts till the regular recruitment takes place. It was also proposed to create 56 new posts as per actual need of these institutions, relaxation in austerity measures notified by finance department to the extent to allow department to make recruitment of contingent paid staff as a stop gap arrangement. For this purpose, Rs10 million may be allocated in the head of contingent paid staff during the current financial year.

It was also recommended to refurbish washrooms and control water seepage. There is a dire need for a psychologist, doctor to control dengue and estate officer there.

Allocation and release of Rs20 million on account of maintenance and repair of inspected buildings was also suggested. This amount may be placed at the disposal of Communication and Works Department chief engineer.

Allocation of Rs 40 million including Rs10 million for repair and maintenance of furniture and equipment, Rs10 million for utilities, Rs20 million for the purchase of new equipment and furniture was also proposed. Moreover, sources told that there was a proposal regarding issuance of direction to Punjab Horticulture Authority to provide horticultural services to these institutions from their own resources.

Moreover, same directions to be conveyed to Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) to ensure cleanliness of these institutions and its surrounding areas and to Medical & Specialized Healthcare Department for deputing a Child Specialist and two medical officers (One Male and One Female) to visit these residential institutes on a regular basis and to create a linkage for emergency purposes. Provision of stipend of Rs1500 per month for residents of Kashana, Old Age Home, Chaman, and Gehwara and allocation of Rs3.6 million for this purpose was also proposed.