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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Special Initiatives highlighted irregularities in the terms of land payments for construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

The committee met with Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani in the chair at the Parliament House Monday.

The Committee highlighted irregularities in terms of land payments and recommended to must examine the audit report in this regard.

Chairman Committee Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani was of the view that audit reports must be examined to check for misappropriation.

He said that names of the members of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam were shared with the Committee.

The meeting commenced with deliberation over the awareness campaign aired on different TV channels regarding the Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

The secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting informed the Committee that the campaign did not involve any public money and that the airing of 245,000 spots and 282,000 public service messages took place according to an agreement with the TV channels that the government will get 10 percent of total airing time on different channels for public service messages.

The Committee enquired claims related to the Supreme Court advertisement; according to which Rs10 billion was spent on public service messages.

Regarding installation of the bridge in Malakand area that was dismantled due to work on the Mohmand Dam, the Committee was assured that according to the resettlement plan it shall be restored to ensure connectivity.

Discussing the updated implementation status of a matter regarding various approved schemes of rehabilitation of electricity distribution infrastructure in District Kohat; the Committee was informed that the list regarding energizing 13 transformers within 24 hours was handed over to the concerned the PESCO CEO with directions to verify the sites and energize all completed transformers.

It was also told to the Committee that a survey has also been initiated for the verification of material stored at different sites required for completion of the said schemes.

The Committee was informed that once the survey is completed details will be submitted to the Committee.

Chairman Committee Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani stressed the need for coordination between agencies.

He asserted that the CEO PESCO must get together with officials concerned of the Power Division at the office of the additional secretary Ministry of Planning, and resolve the matter at the earliest.

He said that compliance details must be submitted to the Committee.

While taking the issue of construction of Khalifa Bridge over River Indus Miran Pur linking N-55 at Arbi Tibba with RY Khan, raised by MNA Sardar Riaz Mehmood Khan; the Committee was informed that the bridge was donated/constructed by the UAE.

The scheme was initially approved and later a revised PC-1 cost estimate was discussed at the 72nd meeting of the PDWP, and deferred.

Finally as intimated by General Manager (Planning) NHA that the scheme is reflected in PSDP 2019-20 of Communications Division with an allocation of Rs500 million, however, the scheme is not reflected in provincial ADP 2020-21.

Senator Sardar Riaz Mehmood Khan, a member of the government, spoke out against the government’s policies.

He said that the UAE built a steel boat bridge on Indus River in Tehsil Rojhan in 2016. He said that the projects were not included in development fund for less developed areas. The bridge, built in 2016, has been inactive for five years due to lack of connectivity, he said.

Discussing the Southern Balochistan Development Package; the Committee expressed strong reservations regarding the briefing, as key details of the projects were missing.

Members also objected to the segregation of Balochistan into North and South regions. Senator Usman Khan Kakar said that the amount specified for the Southern Balochistan Package is insufficient and it is feared that this amount will not be disbursed.

He asserted that a similar package must be formulated for the rest of Balochistan as well, since the province has the least developed districts in the country.

He said that more basic facilities are being snatched from FATA and less-developed areas.

“I don’t understand what is going on here; the assembly is being run by the Establishment. Assembly members are being funded at the request of the Establishment,” Senator Usman Kakar said.

Senator Kakar claimed that the government told that 600 billion has been allocated under the Southern Balochistan Development Package.

But, Rs600 billion will not be given to Southern Balochistan in the next 30 years.

The meeting was attended by Senator Hidayat Ullah, Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senator Gianchand, Senator Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, and senior officers from the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives, Cabinet Division, Power Division, along with all concerned. Senator Shamim Afridi and MNA Sardar Riaz Mehmood Khan Mazari were special invitees at the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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