LAHORE - The Punjab Cabinet on Friday reviewed the second phase of financial assistance to the flood affectees besides giving approval in principle to the extension policy of lease of commercial properties/shops of local government and the amendments made in Punjab Criminal Prosecution Service Act 2006 and PHA Act 2012.

Labour Policy 2014 and Punjab Sanitation Policy after consideration by the cabinet committee concerned will be presented in the next meeting of the cabinet for approval.

The Cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, expressed satisfaction with the progress of the project for exploring mineral reserves and termed it fruit of the efforts of the CM. The meeting paid rich tribute to the Punjab government for providing full assistance to the flood affectees and also adopted a unanimous resolution in this regard.

Addressing the meeting, Shahbaz said that good news has been received about the progress in the project of exploring mineral reserves in Chiniot, and the Chinese company has declared the samples of natural reserves obtained through drilling as encouraging. No doubt, this progress in exploring mineral reserves is good news for the nation, he added.

The CM said that the mineral reserves in the soil are not less than oil or gas for the nation, and expressed the hope that these reserves will prove a guarantee for the development and prosperity of the country. He said that worst criminal negligence was committed with regard to mineral reserves of Chiniot during dictatorship and this important project of national importance was delayed due to policy of favouritism.

Shahbaz lamented that precious reserves are hiding in land but instead of taking serious steps for their exploration and utilisation, “We are wandering around the world with begging bowl.” He directed to constitute a cabinet committee and added that this committee will bring to light all facts with regard to exploring mineral reserves. He said that besides the provincial ministers, government officials and experts of this sector will be included in this committee which will evolve a strategy for furthering it.

Referring to provision of financial assistance to the flood affectees, the CM said that an amount of Rs9.75 billion has been given to 2.75 lakh flood affectees and the second phase of financial assistance will be completed within next few days. He said the Punjab government has ensured rehabilitation of flood affectees in days instead of months through historic package of Rs16 billion. He said the Punjab government has written a new history by providing financial assistance to the flood affectees in a very short period. He said that international institutions have also declared the distribution of financial assistance system among flood affectees as foolproof and very transparent.

Shahbaz said that resources are the trust of the nation and there will be no embezzlement or dishonesty in it. He warned that no injustice or excess will be tolerated in the distribution of financial assistance among flood affectees and right is being provided to the deserving persons. While giving approval in principle to the extension in the lease policy of local government, the Chief Minister directed cabinet committee should review this policy and give it a final shape at the earliest.

Earlier, the Senior Member Board of Revenue and PDMA Director General gave detailed briefings with regard to provision of financial assistance to the flood affectees under Khadim-e-Punjab Imdadi Package in the second phase. The Local Government Secretary threw light on the important features of extension in lease policy, Secretary Prosecution regarding amendment bills of Punjab Criminal Prosecution Service Act 2006 and Secretary Housing about PHA Act 2012. Provincial Ministers, Advisors, Special Assistants, Chief Secretary, concerned secretaries and senior officials attended the meeting.