LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif’s claims of good governance have evaporated into thin air, as the public continue to face the brunt of inflation on one hand, while the CM has inaugurated a new minister block for ministers belonging to the province.
Per details, the chief minister had been holding meetings in the Civil Secretariat Minister Block, but the ministers did not bother to visit the block, which they considered an unsuitable place for hearing public complaints. Keeping this in mind, the Punjab government constructed a new minister block in the premises of the sessions court.
CM Shehbaz inaugurated the block and ensured that all facilities were provided in the newly constructed building, including a bullet-proof gate. Staff had been hired to run the affairs of the block and a park had also been constructed inside the building premises for the pleasure of ministers.
After inaugurating the building, Shehbaz had instructed all ministers from Punjab to sit in their offices three times per week. But the instructions fell on deaf ears as ministers were seldom seen visiting their new offices.
On the other hand, the public visiting the old and new minister block on daily basis to get their complaints registered, were found to be running from pillar to post due to unavailability of the ministers concerned. The arrogant and lackadaisical behavior of the officials had raised concerns among the general public, who said that the ministers were expected to come to their offices as they were public servants. People visiting the office also complained that they felt humiliated waiting all day long for the minister concerned to visit his/her office, even though the expenses of both the minister blocks was being paid by the Punjab government with taxpayers’ money.
According to a source, the facilities provided to ministers inside the new building were being utilised by other staffers, even though no official had visited the office in a long time. The source said that air-conditioners were seen running in the offices 24/7.
The absence of the officials concerned had made the political secretaries working in the office adopt a lax attitude, as they were seen wasting the entire day without doing any work.
The lethargic attitude adopted by the officials concerned had also irked the general public since they complained that millions of rupees of their tax money were being spent every month on maintenance of the new building, while electricity bills per month amounted to almost Rs 1 million. In addition, healthy salary packages being drawn by the ministers and staff members were being wasted, since the officials concerned had failed to justify the high pay-scales that they received.
According to another source, the new minister block was a big burden on taxpayers, as millions of rupees were being spent on the building and the salaries of the officials working therein, but the office had still failed to deliver any results.
The source said that the onus of responsibility fell on CM Shehbaz, who should take action to discipline the ministers and other officials, while ensuring that all ministers attended their offices thrice every week to help solve the problems faced by the general public.