The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the Sindh chief secretary to provide details of the contracts awarded to petroleum exploration companies in Sindh since 2012 along with the funds received from such companies for social welfare schemes for communities living in the areas where the companies had undertaken oil and gas exploration.
The direction was issued on a petition concerning lack of provision of welfare funds to people of areas where oil and gas were being explored.
Additional Advocate General Mustafa Mahesar had filed comments on behalf of various deputy commissioners with regard to utilisation of funds in social welfare schemes for the people living in the proximity of areas where oil and gas were being explored.
The chief secretary informed the SHC that some of the required data was with the director general (DG) petroleum concession, ministry of petroleum. The court directed the DG petroleum concession to submit a compliance report with regard to directions of the Supreme Court in its December 27, 2013 judgment.
The SHC directed the chief secretary to submit details of the number of contracts that had been awarded to oil and gas exploration companies, the duration of those contracts and names of such companies by January 28. The court further directed the chief secretary to seek details of funds that had been received from the companies since 2012 by each deputy commissioner (DC) and submit the same along with details of social welfare schemes carried out through the funds.
The chief secretary was also directed to place on record all the correspondence which he had with the DG petroleum concession when he sought his involvement in negotiations for the contracts with the exploration and petroleum companies in respect of districts located in Sindh and his request to take part in negotiating the share of funds to be provided by the companies to the government of Sindh through its DCs.
The SHC directed the DG petroleum concession to submit copies of agreements with each petroleum company for each district in Sindh and specify by way of percentage how much of the total amount received from the petroleum companies under the agreements was paid to the Sindh government, how much was retained by the federal government and how the funds retained by the federal government were utilised.
The high court remarked that the DG petroleum concession would have to appear
before the court to offer an explanation in case of non-compliance with the court’s directives.