LAHORE: The Punjab finance ministry is all set to move the federal government for removal of customs duty and other taxes on import of air cleaners, face masks and scribers used for safety from the smog. This was stated by Provincial Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht while presiding over a review meeting of disbursement-linked indicators of Punjab Green Development Programme funds here.
The minister said the Punjab government is ensuring the provision of financial assistance for the installation of clean production technology in industries causing pollution and promotion of green investment through Punjab Green Development Programme.
For this purpose, the World Bank has been taken into confidence. Procurement of the latest monitoring equipment for the environment protection department and establishment of green buildings is being ensured as well. Along with it, a consultative system is being introduced to ensure public participation and projection of environment-related information. The draft regulatory act has been formulated for the eradication of polythene bags and use of disposable plastic items and the draft act would be presented to the legislative committee of the Punjab cabinet for approval in next few days, he added.
The provincial minister maintained that people should be sensitized about the hazardous effects of environmental pollution, use of precautionary measures and the steps being taken by the government so that no hurdle could be created in administrative action against the delinquents. The minister said that not only India is responsible for the prevalent situation of smog in Lahore but local public and private transport, burning of crops’ residual and the smoke emitting from factories and brick-kilns have a major part in it.
The government and people have to work jointly to control it, he added. The minister directed the environment protection department to recruit professionals purely on merit to expedite its organizational efficiency and the services of World Bank should also be solicited for the procurement of the latest machinery. Existing government buildings should be utilized for the establishment of training institutes and establishment of green buildings, he added. Meanwhile, the finance department should ensure early availability of funds required for the transfer of industries on clean technology and promotion of SMEs.
Similarly, the transport department should be directed to ensure that plying of pollution-emitting vehicles should be banned on roads and vehicle information & communication system (VICS) should also be utilized to achieve the target, the minister concluded.