LAHORE: The Standing Committee of Cabinet on Finance and Development on Friday approved a summary put up after the nod of the chief minister that the Punjab government would purchase 40 new vehicles for the chief minister house and provincial cabinet members at a cost of over Rs300 million.

According to the summary, the government will purchase four Toyota Fortuner cars, three Toyota Revo double-cabin cars and 33 Toyota Corolla Altis (Grande) cars for the cabinet members. The funds amounting to Rs305.07 million for the purchase of new vehicles will be provided through supplementary grant along with permission for advance withdrawal during the current financial year 2022-23.

Sources say the chief minister’s office had initially, on Aug 10, requested 26 vehicles for the transport pool of the office to avoid any inconvenience while performing official duties. In addition to these, the office on Sept 7 demanded additional 14 vehicles from the transport pool of the S&GAD. Accordingly, 14 vehicles were deployed as per the request of the CM Office.

The transport pool of the S&GAD consequently faced shortage of 14 vehicles. Therefore, in addition to the purchase of 26 vehicles for the CM office, 14 Toyota Corolla Altis (Grande) cars were required for transport pool of the S&GAD for deployment with cabinet members and other official duties.

Compensation for the flood-hit people approved

The procurement of new vehicles will be carried out in accordance with Rule-59(c)(vii) of the Punjab Procurement Rules, 2014, from the authorised dealers of the Indus Motor Company i.e. Toyota Garden Motors Pvt. Ltd. The financial impact of the procurement of 40 new vehicles has been estimated to be Rs305.07 million. The standing committee approved grant of the amount for the purchase of new vehicles.

Similarly, the standing committee chaired by Chief Minister Parvez Elahi considered and approved purchase of vehicles for deputy commissioners, additional deputy commissioners and members of the Board of Revenue.

Senior Member Board of Revenue Zahid Akhtar Zaman did not reply to calls and WhatsApp messages regarding the purchase of vehicles for deputy commissioners, ADCs and BoR members.

Sources say the deputy commissioners and ADCs’ vehicles were quite old and needed to be replaced with new vehicles at the earliest. The DCs and ADCs are currently using the district chairmen’s Toyota Fortuner vehicles in the capacity of administrators. These vehicles remained with the DCs and ADCs, except for a short period when the Supreme Court had restored the local governments.

Another source said the agenda item for the purchase of vehicles for DCs, ADCs and BoR members was deferred.

The standing committee also approved creation of posts for the new administrative division Gujrat. At the meeting presided over by Parvez Elahi, increase in conveyance allowance for the blind, dumb and other disabled employees was announced. It was approved to increase the conveyance allowance for disabled government employees from Rs2,000 to Rs6,000.

The upgrade of posts of music teachers and Braille teachers including the disabled employees was also approved. The extension of three months in the employment period of 664 disabled daily wagers was approved. One month’s basic salary as a risk allowance for the staff of the Rescue 1122 was approved and rich tributes were paid to the staff engaged in the rescue activities and rehabilitation of the flood-affected people.

A special relief package was approved for the flood-hit. An increase in financial assistance from Rs800,000 to Rs1 million for the family members of the deceased had been approved. The financial assistance as compensation for the damage caused by the collapse of the concrete houses was increased from Rs100,000 to Rs400,000. The amount of financial assistance in the case of the mud-house was increased from Rs40,000 to Rs200,000 to repair the damage, while in case of loss of a large animal, financial assistance of Rs75,000 would be given to the affected family.

The flood victims would be rehabilitated with the money collected through the flood relief fund, Mr Elahi asserted.

The standing committee approved funds for building residences for doctors and medical staff at the Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology and entering into an agreement with the Indus Hospital to functionalise the 200-bed Mother and Child Hospital and Nursing College in Mianwali.

The meeting also allowed release of Rs1.5 billion to buy vaccines for the prevention of lumpy skin disease in animals and the release of funds of Rs9 billion for the maintenance and repair of roads.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2022

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