LAHORE – Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday inaugurated the new building of Provincial Disaster Management Authority and modern facilities being equipped with it. Ambassador of European Union Lars Gunnar Wigemark, Country Directors of UNDP and World Food Programme, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority, Director Generals of Emergency Service 1122 and PDMA were also present on this occasion. Director General Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority Khalid Sherdil gave a detailed briefing about the modern facilities.  

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the CM said that the PMDA was on papers in 2010 but today it was reality and equipped with modern facilities and manpower. He said that in 2010, Pakistan particularly Punjab faced the worst flood of the history which affected 60 lakh people and caused a loss of $10 billion to country’s economy. He said that Punjab government adopted an effective strategy for coping with the destructions of flood and we are also thankful to Pak Army, Civil Society and foreign organizations which extended cooperation to Punjab government for meeting this challenge.

He said that people of Pakistan particularly Punjab donated Rs1.55 billion for flood affectees and 22 model villages equipped with modern facilities have been set up in flood affected areas with this money. Shahbaz Sharif said that he is pleased to see GIS, wireless system and other facilities in the Authority and thankful to Ambassador of EU, Country Directors of UNDP and World Food Programme who extended cooperation in provision of these facilities.

EU Ambassador, Lars Gunnar Wigemark on this occasion said that command, control and communication system in PDMA is impressive and PDMA played an excellent role in coping with the flood. He said that we will continue our cooperation for capacity building of this institution. He said that getting modern facilities is a candid proof to good governance and its credit goes to CM Shahbaz Sharif. He said that European Union has always supported democracy in Pakistan and also been included as an observer in the process of last elections. He disclosed that EU has evolved a five-year programme for cooperation in various sectors and also provided bomb disposal equipment to Punjab government. Country Director of UNDP and World Food Programme, in his address threw light on the role of their organizations during calamities.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif has directed the relevant Divisional Commissioner to formulate strategy for plying CNG buses five main cities including Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Gujranwala, immediately after their arrival in the province from abroad. The CM has also underscored the need of uninterrupted availability of CNG for public transport for the sake of public facility.  He said modern transport system has been launched from Lahore and its scope is going to be extended to the said five cities. He said besides Lahore, projects of Bus Rapid Transport will also be started in Rawalpindi, Multan and Faisalabad. The CM directed concerned divisional commissioner of the said five cities, to evolve strategy in consultation with Lahore Transport Company for immediately plying CNG buses in their respective divisions. He directed DCs to complete identification of suitable places for setting up of CNG stations so that gasoline could be provided to public transport without any interruption.

The CM said this while presiding over a high level meeting regarding provision of quality transport facilities to the people as well as Bus Rapid Transit projects at Chief Minister’s Secretariat, here Saturday. MNA Hanif Abbasi, Chairman Lahore Transport Company Kh. Ahmad Hassan, MPA Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmad and Hafiz Mian Noman, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretaries of Finance, Transport and Communication departments and other concerned officers were also present on this occasion.

The CM said that provision of quality transport facilities to the people is the top priority of the government and solid measures have been taken in this regard. He further stated that the government has fulfilled the promise of providing quality transport facilities to the people in provincial metropolis and 575 more CNG buses are being imported and beside Lahore, these buses will also be plied in the said cities. The CM said that he is thankful to Federal Minister for Petroleum Dr. Asim Hussain on the decision of providing CNG uninterruptedly to the public transport. He said that this decision will greatly help in providing quality and affordable transport facilities to the people.

He directed Chairman LTC to ensure the implementation of set schedules for import of more CNG buses.

Talking about the BPT Projects in the province, the CM said that the project will soon be started in Lahore and 27 km portion from Gajomata to Shahdara will be completed in first phase for which a six-member team of Turkish expert is coming to Lahore soon.