LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has agreed with the proposal to purchase water cannons for the provincial police that would cost Rs 330 million to the national kitty.

Official sources said that a proposal was floated by the police chief to purchase water guns to control escalating agitation against government on different issues that was forwarded to the government. A high level cabinet committee, Col (r) Shuja Khanzada in the chair, recommended the proposal and forwarded the same to the CM for his nod. After the CM’s yes, it was directed to the Punjab police to initiate a summary to the home department. After the due business, the finance department would release the funds to the tune in two installments. Initially six water guns will be purchased for the police of the big cities like Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and the metropolis.

It was told that half of the required amount would be released during the current fiscal year while rest of it would be done in the coming year. An officer told that the government could not afford big amount to purchase all the water cannons at once so it allowed buying of six guns only. He said that the cost of a water gun exceeded Rs 50 million so it was difficult to arrange such a big amount.

He said that the Punjab government had already decided to cut non-development and non-salary budget by 15 per cent to create space for reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood victims. In case the initiative did not yield enough funds, the government may also go for foreign loans, the officer held.

The CM had approved a second-hand copter instead of a new chopper to be purchased for counter terrorism department. He said that the government was observing austerity measure under the policy and purchase of new cars for even officers was banned.