* International firm vows to increase cooperation with Punjab govt in IT sector
* CM reviews progress on Ashiana housing project
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the development in the IT sector is the need of the hour and the Punjab government has launched revolutionary programmes for the promotion of information technology and the province would be made a “Silicon Valley”, a reference to the hi-tech industries hub in the US.
The chief minister said this while talking to the world-renowned IT company Teradata Corporation’s Chief Technical Officer Stephen Brobst on Saturday. Punjab Information Technology Board Chairman Dr Umar Saif and other IT experts were also present in the meeting. The chief minister said that the Punjab government is providing facilities and incentives to international IT companies for investment in the province, and due to this reason renowned international companies are making huge investment in Punjab. Citing the steps taken by the provincial government, he said that Punjab government has established IT labs in 4,300 high schools at a cost of Rs 5 billion, while modern education is being imparted to both girls and boys in Danish Schools through Smart Board. Shahbaz said that more than two hundred thousand laptops are being distributed among male and female students purely on merit. He said that an IT university of international standard has been set up in Lahore that is imparting modern education. Meanwhile, Brobst said that his company will increase its cooperation with the Punjab government in the IT sector, and noted that a centre of Teradata is successfully working in the Arfa Karim Software Technology Park.
Separately, Chief Minister Shahbaz said that Ashiana Housing Scheme has been launched for the low-income families and the dream of labourers, farmers, destitute, orphans and widows has been materialised through these schemes. He said that the Ashiana scheme is providing facilities better than those provided in residential colonies of ministers and officers. Shahbaz said that besides Lahore, work has also been started on Ashiana project in Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Chiniot, Kasur and Bahawalpur.
He was presiding over a high-level meeting held to review the progress on Ashiana Housing Project. Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that the Punjab government is utilising all the resources of the province for the welfare of the masses and improving their living standard. He said that Ashiana project is an excellent welfare programme of the Punjab government which is providing best residential facilities to the low-income people. He said that welfare projects like Ashiana housing project are an important step towards making the country a welfare state in accordance with the ideals of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal.
He said that the houses in the Ashiana scheme are being allotted to the deserving persons on merit through transparent and computerised balloting, and a committee headed by Justice (r) Aamir Raza has been constituted for this purpose. The chief minister said that provision of houses to very low-income persons on low prices and soft terms is his mission, and added that Rescue-1122, fire brigade, sports complex, schools, hospital and jogging track facilities are also being provided in the Ashiana housing schemes. He said that those people whose monthly income is lower than Rs 30 thousand can apply for allotment of houses in the Ashiana housing schemes. staff report