Govt’s performance in 2015 was abysmal, says Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed
“A scrutiny of the performance of the Punjab government in 2015 reveals that it had neglected several important issues. A slogan of good governance means nothing if no steps have been taken to improve the quality of life of citizens,” Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, said on Thursday.
Rasheed said the government could face public backlash over its failure to formulate an agriculture policy and resolve the issue of the Orange Line metro project. In a press conference at the Punjab Assembly, Rasheed summarised the government’s performance in various sectors.
“Despite their claims of good governance, the reality is far from what is being portrayed,” he said.
Law and order
The opposition leader said the crime rate had risen by 86 per cent during 2015 in the province. “The law and order situation is disappointing,” he said. “Justice is not delivered here, it is sold.” He said according to FIRs registered between January and November, 4,198 murders, 4,805 attempted murders, 12,328 kidnappings, 2,555 rapes, 211 gang rapes, 16,654 robberies and 14,673 torture cases had been reported with the police. “How many of these complaints were resolved? How many cases went unreported?”
Rasheed said the public feared the ‘thaana’ culture.
Rasheed said there were 15,000 ghost schools in the Punjab. He said some 8,000 schools did not have boundary walls and 6,220 schools did not have safe drinking water. He said 7,000 school buildings had been declared dangerous and 900 buildings highly dangerous by the government. “You cannot claim to have achieved any education targets when you have failed to provide basic facilities,” he said.
Rasheed told newsmen that 22 per cent of the budget allocated for health had been utilised by November.
“The government’s performance in the health sector is particularly abysmal. The government has neglected issues of the paramedical staff and young doctors. Dozens of children have fallen victim to medical negligence and shortage of facilities at public hospitals,” he said. Rasheed said 36 children had died in 20 days owing to the absence of ventilators in a hospital.
“The government had announced a safe water project but there seems to be no progress on this,” he said.
Rasheed said additional funds should be allocated for the project and more filtration plants should be installed.
Rasheed criticised the government for imposing 17 per cent general sales tax on agricultural implements and on medicines.
Over 70 per cent of the population relies on agriculture for their income, Rasheed said.
“The government has failed to formulate a sustainable agriculture policy for the past three years. Rs190 billion had been allocated for purchase of four million tonnes of wheat, only 2.6 million tonnes were actually bought,” he said. “The Kisan Package is not a long-term solution for such problems,” he said.
Orange Line Metro Train
“Despite reservations from all quarters, the government decided to go ahead with the Orange Train project,” he said. He said the debt acquired for the Rs165 billion-project would be paid off over the next 20 years. “Our heritage sites are being destroyed for this project. People are being displaced to make for the chief minister’s dream city,” he said.
He said the Metro Train project was in violation of the Punjab Antiquities Act of 1975 which prohibited construction within 200 feet of a heritage site.
“The government is obsessed with this project.” he said.
Comparing the Lahore Orange Line project with a similar project in Amritsar, he said the costs of the former were exceedingly high.
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