LAHORE  -  The Punjab cabinet, which met here on Friday with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair, decided to end rebate given by the Punjab government on export of sugar and approved abolition of subsidy on sugar export to stabilise sugar prices.

The meeting gave approval to fix aquifer tariff (water charges) at the rate of one rupee per litter on water bottling and beverage companies using the groundwater.

The decision to collect water charges has been made in light of the Supreme Court directions. Local governments, WASA and irrigation department will issue notifications within their respective jurisdictions for collecting these charges. In the light of the Supreme Court directions, a separate account has been set up for the money to be collected under this head and a comprehensive mechanism will be devised for receiving and utilization of water charges.

Briefing the media about the decisions taken by the cabinet, Provincial Minister for Information and Culture Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari said that it has been decided to give two kg sugar per individual consumer in the Ramazan bazaars of the province. Ramazan bazaars will be converted into Eid bazaars from 21st Ramazan ul Mubarak. Punjab government will give Rs20 million as subsidy for the Eid bazaars, he said. 

The minister said that food items relating to the upcoming festival of Eid will also be sold in the Ramazan bazaars from 21st Ramazan-ul-Mubarak. Semolina, vermicelli and five additional food items will be provided on subsidized rates and Punjab government will provide a subsidy of Rs20 million in this regard, he added. 

The Minister said that Punjab cabinet meeting gave the approval to change the name of Fort Munro Development Authority as Koh-e-Suleman Development Authority and also decided to expand the scope of this authority to the tribal areas of DG Khan and Rajanpur. For that purpose, he said, necessary amendments will be made in the act.

The meeting decided to defer a decision on e-transfer policy about the school teachers. Sumsam Bokhari told reporters that cabinet was apprised about the amendments in the transfer policy of teachers of the schools education department and a detailed briefing was also given to the participants. In line with the cabinet decision, he added, the parliamentary party will also be briefed about the e-transfer policy of the teachers before its implementation. 

Also, the cabinet approved adoption of necessary steps in the light of court directions to regularize the work charge employees of Punjab Revenue Authority. It was also decided to amend the LDA laws with regard to the utilization of land for marquees, marriage and banquet halls. It was decided to constitute a high-level committee for amendments in the relevant laws.

Information minister said that cabinet meeting approved amendments in Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1967 and expressed its satisfaction over the achievement of wheat procurement target. The meeting gave approval to six monthly reports of 7th national finance commission award for July-December 2016, January-June 2017 and July-December 2017. Annual audit reports of C&W, housing & public health engineering, irrigation, local bodies, and Infrastructure Development Authority Punjab for the year 2018-19 was also affirmed by the cabinet meeting. These audit reports will now be presented before the Punjab assembly.

The meeting also confirmed the decisions made in the 10th meeting of the Punjab cabinet besides affirming the decisions of the 9th meeting of provincial cabinet committee for finance and development.

Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that wheat farmers have been given full reward of their hard work and added that their rights have been fully protected by the Punjab government. “I extend congratulations to the food minister and other concerned officials for achieving the wheat procurement target,” he said. He said Ramazan bazaars had given relief to the people and more steps will be taken to provide further relief to the people in the future. “Our every step is taken in the best public interest and the journey of public service will not be stopped,” he added.

Provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants, chief secretary, and administrative secretaries attended the meeting.