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Govt wants to establish official colonies across Punjab, PA told
10-20-2010, 05:14 PM
Post: #1
Govt wants to establish official colonies across Punjab, PA told
* Land can be acquired from large houses at GOR-I, Upper Mall to build government offices, houses

* Many former government officers occupy official residences

By Hussain Kashif

LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, expressing the government’s resolve to establish official colonies across the province, said on Tuesday that government could acquire land from large houses located in the Government Official Residences-I (GOR-I) and Upper Mall areas.

During the question hour regarding the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD), in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday as private members’ day, the members discussed the shortage of official residences in Punjab and raised serious queries regarding illegal occupation of the government residences by ‘influential’ officers, including former members of the judiciary.

Qamarul Islam Raja, Naveed Anjum and Rana Tanvir asked different questions regarding the official residences across the province, including Governor’s House. Responding to the questions, the law minister informed the House that although the Governor’s House was situated on a big piece of land, the government had no plan to commercialise some of its land due to its historical significance.

Sanaullah said the GOR-I and Upper Mall space could be used to build government offices and officials residences, but the issues like traffic and population plans would be addressed before taking any initiative in this regard.

On a query about illegal occupation of official residences at GOR-V, the law minister said three former district and session judges, SM Iqtidar Ul Hasan Bukhari, Zafar Hussain Bhatti and Ijaz Ahmed Chaddar had obtained stay orders from relevant courts and the government would take control of the residences as soon as the stay orders were vacated.

The law minister told the House that Bukhari was an unauthorised occupant of the official residence since May 27, 2007, Bhatti was residing illegally since April 5, 2004 and Chaddar was in illegal occupation since July 5, 2003. He said that under the law, the officials could retain the residences for five years after their transfer to other districts, but now a committee had decided that the government employees should be allowed to retain official residences only for two years.

He told the House that the government had a deep desire to build official residences in other districts too, but there was a need to a take careful decision in this regard. Regarding task forces, Sanaullah told the House that 18 task forces were functional in Punjab, while no chairman of these task forces was getting salary or stipend from the budgetary allocations. He said 28 task forces were initially formed, but later eight of these were abolished, while two other task forces had been merged into the remaining 18 task forces.

Later, three important resolutions were introduced in the House, including imposition of a ban on the use of Gutka and other health hazardous food items. Responding positively to a resolution, Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan ordered laboratory test of Gutka.

In the second important resolution moved by Samina Khawar Hayyat from opposition, it was demanded that cartoon programmes that were promoting Indian culture and Hinduism should be banned in Pakistan.

Seconding the resolution, Khawaja Imran Nazir of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said that major media groups in the country were promoting Indian culture in the name of entertainment in Pakistan.

Deputy speaker of Punjab Assembly Rana Mushhood Ahmed Khan observed that it was the responsibility of parents to keep a check on what their kids were watching on TV.

He also gave a ruling over the resolution to the Punjab Assembly secretary to table all the relevant laws along with such resolutions so that legal aspect could also be reviewed. Sheikh Allaudin of the treasury benches belonging to the PML-Q dissident group tabled a resolution to end bank holiday on Saturday, but the House did not endorse the suggestion and the resolution was lost.
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