Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has said that special powers have been delegated to the deputy commissioners to monitor the measures taken to deal with smog.
The chief minister said in a statement that the smog had been declared a calamity in Punjab for safeguarding lives.
He issued directives for strict enforcement of the ban on burning tyres in factories and crop waste in the fields, adding that the environment department, local administration and agencies concerned should ensure the complete implementation of the plan evolved to deal with the smog issue.
He also directed the authorities concerned to initiate legal action against industries, vehicles and brick kilns that were polluting the environment and remain alert to cope with the situation. He also ordered the launching of an effective awareness campaign in this regard.
Chief Minister Buzdar said violation of the ban on burning garbage would not be tolerated.
He said a Smog Monitoring Cell was being set up in the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), which would operate round the clock. The government had formed five anti-smog squads in Lahore and their scope would be expanded, he added.
In another statement, the chief minister said that the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) had made the opposition parties relies that their political future was bleak, leaving them afraid of the technology.
He said the people were fully aware of the elements frightened of transparency in elections.
The chief minister said the world was heading towards digitalisation but the opposition was trying to push the country backwards.
He said the government was serving the people under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, while the opposition had been merely making hue and cry. The PTI government would complete its tenure, he asserted.
Chief Minister Buzdar also sought a report from the commissioner of Faisalabad division about a fire incident in a factory. He also directed the Rescue 1122 and other departments to speed up the relief activities.
Recalling his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Chief Minister Buzdar said seeing the process of preparation of the Ghilaf-e-Kaaba during Umrah was the happiest and most beautiful moment of his life. “I also prayed for the progress and development, stability and integrity of the country and for the prosperity of the nation,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2021.