PA lawmakers lament lack of clean drinking water
City Lahore20 HOURS AGO BY HASSAAN AHMED
punjab assembly
Almost all the lawmakers hailing from both treasury and opposition benches who took part in the pre-budget discussion during the 27th session of the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday lamented the unhygienic state of drinking water in their constituencies.
They urged the finance minister to allocate special funds in the upcoming budget for the redressal of the issue as the lives of millions were at stake due to the non-availability of potable water in the province.
“The provision of clean drinking water must be the priority of the government in the upcoming budget as 1.1 million people including 0.25 million children have lost their lives in just one year because of unhygienic drinking water,” leader of the opposition Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed said in his speech.
The Punjab government’s two-year rhetoric of how the Saaf Pani Company is doing a commendable job fell flat when the chief minister suspended the company’s top executives just a few months ago over corruption charges, the opposition leader added.
“Earlier, the company estimated a cost of Rs 120 billion to provide clean drinking water but now the cost has ballooned to Rs 190 billion due to delays in the project,” Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed said.
The leader of the opposition further added that there was a need to strengthen the standing committees of the assembly and that the committees must be tasked with preparing the budget instead of relying on the bureaucracy.
The MPA refused to speak in the absence of Finance Minister Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha and delivered his speech only after she entered the house.
A lawmaker of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Mian Aslam Iqbal, came down hard on the government and said that the pre-budget discussion was a futile exercise as the ruling party never actually considers the suggestions of the opposition.
“The policies regarding this province are not made by the assembly as the decision making power rests with the Model Town assembly,” he said, pointing to the Model Town residence of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who does not bother to attend the assembly sessions and conducts all official meetings at his residence.
He further added that both the chief minister and the prime minister could not construct even a single hospital where they would themselves be comfortable being treated and had to go abroad for medical check-ups instead.
Mian Muhammad Islam Aslam, an MPA of the ruling party from Rahimyar Khan district, said that more than 80 percent of the water in his constituency was unhygienic and not even a single water filtration plant was provided despite the promises of the government. He said that two of his union councils did not have a high school.
MPA Rukhsana Kokab from Lahore, also of the ruling party, said that the diseases of the stomach and liver were on the rise in her constituency because of unhygienic drinking water. “I live in the walled city of Lahore and the people there people do not have the access to clean drinking water. The water supply has been mixed up with the sewerage water, causing severe health issues,” she said. The MPA demanded that these issues must be given priority in the next budget.
The Punjab government is all set to announce the last budget of its ongoing tenure in June this year and therefore the parliamentarians are trying hard to highlight the issues of their constituencies.
MPAs Shoaib Siddiqui, Sardar Khalid Mahmood, Faiza Mushtaq, Arif Abbasi, Anis Qureshi, Asif Mehmood, and Dr Waseem Akhtar also participated in the pre-budget discussion and gave their suggestions.
Finance Minister Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha is expected to wind up the pre-budget debate today after the session resumes.

PA lawmakers lament lack of clean drinking water

PA lawmakers lament lack of clean drinking water

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