LAHORE: Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said on Saturday that 41 percent of the next ADP (Annual Development Plan) would be spent on provision of basic facilities of life in the backward districts of Punjab.
Reviewing the draft special strategy for the development of southern Punjab here, he said the projects aimed at the elimination of chemical substances in water causing cancer and hepatitis, would be given priority, besides ensuring safe drinking water supply through taps instead of bottled water.
Hashim Jawan said that programmes relating to the agricultural sector would be incorporated in schools’ textbooks and made part of technical training courses to facilitate people of southern Punjab comprising 54 percent of the population of the province. Business courses would be introduced for the people deprived of education due to lack of resources so as to make them self-reliant and enable them to play an effective role in the economic development of the province, he added.
Punjab Finance Minister said that local people would be preferred for teaching staff that would help ensure teachers’ presence in educational institutions. He mentioned that the agro-based industry would be promoted to give an end to unemployment, asserting that it had been suggested to allocate a total of Rs 22 billion for the new agricultural programme in the upcoming provincial budget. Instead of procurement, he said, watchers and provision of storage facilities for enhanced wheat production were under consideration.
Unfortunately, those 42 percent people, who contribute 70 to 80 percent in economic growth of Punjab by producing 95 percent of mangoes, 93 percent sunflower, 89 percent cotton, 85 percent pomegranate and 80 percent dates, were living below the poverty line. Insufficient health and educational facilities, he said, had not only rendered jobless the people of southern Punjab but also compelled them to migrate to urban centres thus increasing substantially population of big cities. Keeping all these realities in view, he said, the incumbent government was paying great attention towards those districts, which had for the last many years been ignored with regard to projects of education, social protection, health, agriculture and business facilities. Planning was also being made for the construction of link roads and industrial zones in southern Punjab.
Punjab Finance Minister also directed the Urban Planning Unit to formulate projects in coordination with respective departments to be incorporated in the next ADP.