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May 4, 2019

PTI MPA complains of lack of basic facilities


May 4, 2019

LAHORE: A legislator of the ruling PTI in Punjab Assembly on Friday complained about the government’s apathy towards absence of basic civic facilities like water, sanitation, health and employment in Muzaffargarh district.

However, one of the ministers and parliamentary secretaries hailing from southern Punjab cared to reply to their colleague Niaz Hussain Khan’s complaints, despite that he continued to agitate the elected members present in the cabinet from backward southern Punjab.

The complainant drew the House’s attention towards the increasing deaths of children in his constituency due to diseases like TB and hepatitis, mainly caused by polluted drinking water. He said he was forced to highlight the plight of his district in the House after failing to draw authorities’ attention through private complaints over the last nine months. He reminded the House that Muzaffargarh’s representatives had served as governors, chief ministers and ministers of Punjab but the plight of over 4.5 million population of the district remained unchanged.

Niaz Hussain Khan demanded the Chair, being held by Mian Shafi Muhammad, member of panel of chairmen, to ask the minister concerned to either constitute a House committee to suggest solutions to the problems faced by his constituency or conduct independent surveys to verify his complaints and the actual situation.

The Chair agreed that his complaints were of serious nature and deserved proper attention from the authorities. The Chair looked for the minister concerned to reply to his complaints but could not find the health minister or local government minister.

Several ministers hailing from southern Punjab, including Hasnain Bahadur Dreshak, Samiullah Chaudhry, Shaukat Lalika, Ahmad Khan Bhacchar and Mohsin Leghari, were present in the House but they refrained from volunteering to address the concerns of the complainant.

In the meantime, opposition’s Zaibun Nisa pointed out that the House lacked quorum. The Chair ordered ringing of bells twice to complete the quorum but the Treasury members failed to bring in their colleagues in required number for maintaining the quorum. The Chair had no choice but to prorogue the proceedings sine die.

Earlier, during the question hour, woman members from the Treasury benches criticised the government for poor cleanliness services in Lahore despite that two foreign companies were hired for waste disposal at the cost of huge money from the poor tax payers.

Shawana Bashir of PTI rasied the question as to why the government had been ignoring the lifting of garbage from Lahore. She said heaps of garbage could be seen even in the posh localities of the provincial metropolis. Uzma Kardar also joined in with a supplementary question, saying sanitary workers were found burning the garbage instead of lifting it which was causing further serious problems of environmental pollution and other respiratory related diseases among the citizens.

Replying to the questions, Parliamentary Secretary Ahmad Khan Bhacchar said the government was not satisfied with the contract given to Turkish companies Al-bayrak and Oz Pak for 13 million dollar and 18 million dollars annually, respectively. However, he said, the government could not revoke, amend or audit the contracts till its limit of June 2020. He said the government intended to make forensic audit of the contracts, adding that both companies were paid an amount of Rs 29,905.91 million till March 2019. He told the House that the government had imposed a waste disposal tax of Rs 20 per shop in 2000 which was raised to Rs 50 per shop at present, but t he government had no intention to increase this tax at present. He said Lahore Waste Management Company having 9,000 sanitary workers and 268 waste disposal vehicles, aided by 622 vehicles of foreign companies, were busy in disposing of waste from the City. He said sanitary workers were not allowed to burn waste and incidents of fire in waste dumps were found to have been caused by throwing burning cigarette butts in the waste dumps.

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