Severe storm kills five in South Punjab

Storm Alert

Dust storm followed by heavy rain and hailstorm in some areas lashed Southern Punjab last night while at least five people were killed and many injured in rain-related incidents, disclosed reports received from different areas.
The storm was so intense that it uprooted dozens of trees, electricity pylons and billboards besides leaving roads and streets submerged with rainwater. The windstorm hit Multan and adjoining areas at a pace of 90-km per hour and badly affected wheat, mango and Falsa crops. At least five casualties were reported from different areas of South Punjab because of roof and wall collapse incidents during the rain. Similarly, at least 17 passengers were injured in a head on collision between a passenger wagon and truck on Kabirwala-Jhang Road. The storm also led to cancellation of at least two flights coming to or from Multan.
The storm also led to cancellation of flights coming to or from Multan. The power supply to almost half of Multan city got suspended because of the storm. However, the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) workers restored the supply as soon as the storm was over.
Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Khawaja Muhammad Usman expressed his fear that the government might impose new taxes of in upcoming budget which would put the Government as well as masses into the trouble.
In a statement issued, he lamented that although the chamber finalised a shadow budget for 2014-15, the government did not consult the chambers for making the budget. He demanded the government to clear the refunds cases of all the exporters, manufacturers and industrialists. He suggested to the government to allocate Rs.50 billion in the upcoming budget for timely refunds of exporters and  the business community.
He said that Rate of General sales tax must be brought down to 12.5 percent (inclusive of value addition tax). He said that at import stage, the accumulative sum of all taxes (including sales tax and income tax), customs and regulatory duties and levies should not anyhow exceed 30 percent of the value of goods.

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