PUNJAB Chief Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi, who is known for launching programmes to provide relief to the people, has recently approved several initiatives that have been widely appreciated by different segments of the society.
He has decided to distribute government land in Cholistan among 25,000 local farmers for a period of five years, fix property transfer fee at 1% across the province and introduce comprehensive jail reforms as recommended by the relevant committee.
The relief-oriented policies of the Chief Minister are an indication that he is fully aware that it is performance and delivery, which matters much in the ultimate analysis.
It is a landmark decision to allot the government land to local farmers in Cholistan as this would ensure productive use of the otherwise uncultivated land in the region.
The move to distribute the land among local farmers is also appropriate as they are familiar with the local environment and conditions of thousands of poverty-stricken families would improve.
However, the success of the scheme depends on transparent distribution of the land among deserving people and provision of necessary incentives to them for cultivation.
The Chief Minister has rightly pointed out that the people of Cholistan have an equal right to resources and allotment of lands to the landless farmers will change their future.
The jail reforms being introduced in Punjab also have the potential to become a role model for other provinces as these comprehensively deal with all issues pertaining to rights and welfare of the prisoners.
The facilities envisaged in the proposed reforms among others include provision of quality food and hygienic kits in jails, installation of cooling system in jail rooms, handing over jail canteens to the utility stores and other mega stores, free legal aid for abandoned prisoners, upgradation of 43 jail hospitals and giving their management to provincial health department, special allowance for doctors working in jail hospitals, sports facilities for detained children and grant of 300 minutes every month to prisoners in order to talk to their family members.
As for property transfer fee, it was increased significantly; sparking resentment among people and therefore, the decision to fix it at 1% would come as a major relief in land transactions.