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After extravagance, Punjab government falls back to austerity

Completely bans procurement of new vehicles except for health emergency service, education, police, etc

After purchasing luxury vehicles for government officers, irrigation engineers, police force, revenue and political executive, worth over Rs1 billion, the Punjab government has decided to observe utmost austerity.

The Board of Revenue (BOR) Punjab has approved the purchase of 93 new luxury vehicles for its members, deputy commissioners (DCs) and Additional Deputy Commissioners (ADCs) Revenue. It will alone cost about one billion rupees to the exchequer. Likewise, forty vehicles will be purchased for additional deputy commissioners (revenue) and one vehicle for assistant commissioner Kot Addu. These vehicles will be Hilux Revo and the cost of each will be, approximately, one crore rupees. A total of around forty crore rupees will be spent on the purchase of these vehicles for field babus.

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Deputy Commissioners and ADCDs are using the vehicles of district Nazim or mayors in addition to their own vehicles as the local bodies are not functional in the province. CM Punjab Ch Parvez Elahi’s government has already given vehicles worth Rs930 million to Punjab Police. The vehicles were purchased for operational purposes of the Elite Force, Special Protection Unit, and Counter Terrorism department etc. Earlier, CM Usman Buzdar had also provided 571 vehicles Punjab Police.  As per details 500 new vehicles for police stations, 47 for Highway patrolling and 24 for the Elite Force.

Reportedly the Lahore High Court Directorate of district judiciary has also purchased 308 new vehicles for its judges. The purpose of facilitating the judicial officers was to speedily dispose of about 2 million pending cases with the courts, claimed a judge. Sources said that the Punjab government had already purchased 3,000 CC vehicles for assistant commissioners (ACs) of grade 17. According to the rules, a grade seventeen officer cannot use a vehicle of more than 1000c. The rules were relaxed for this purpose and 556 million rupees were spent by the government of Punjab to buy 147 vehicles for ACs.

As per the reports, the Punjab CM office has also spent rupees 23 million on the replacement of the chief minister’s VVIP vehicle’s bulletproof Mercedes Benz tyres. Reportedly, it was earlier decided to purchase expensive vehicles for protocol purposes of top dignitaries worth Rs1.33 b, including 44 Toyota Fortuners, 12 Toyota Corollas, 33 Toyota Corolla Grandes and 44 Hilux Vigos.

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As per a notification on Friday, the Finance Department issued, use of public money, prudent financial management, observance of financial discipline, and judicious reduction of the expenditure without compromising the essential and core organization functions expenditures shall be required to be re-aligned with the organizational goal to make them target based cost-effective and efficient.

The government has completely banned the procurement of new vehicles except for health emergency service education police etc. The contingent paid staff can be hired only in extremely emergent cases.  purchase of air conditioner exceeding 1 million shall not be allowed,  treatment abroad we also are banned,  air travel of government officers except official Tours will be banned,  moreover ban on holding seminars in private hotels.  There shall be a complete pan on the upgradation of posts.

According to the notification, an austerity committee was constituted. Finance Minister will be the convener while secretaries to the Finance, Planning and development board, and special secretary of Finance, an additional finance secretary local government fund, and a department representative will be its members.



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