Tuesday April 23, 2024

Cabinet approves bifurcation of Chitral into two districts

By Riaz Khan Daudzai
November 09, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunhwa cabinet on Thursday gave go-ahead to the Energy and Power Department to present its case of Rs135 billion annual Net Hydel Profit (NHP) to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and approved the bifurcation Chitral into two districts for better governance of the largest district of the province.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan presided over the meeting that took a number of decisions.

Briefing the media at the Cabeint Room, Civil Secretariat, after the meeting, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information r Shaukat Yousafzai said the cabinet approved the bifurcation of Chitral into two districts-Lower Chitral and Upper Chitral.

He said Chitral is a largest district of the province and its residents had been demanding its bifurcation, which was approved in 2017. However, it could not be notified and the provincial cabinet approved the creation of new Upper Chitral as district, he added.

Flanked by advisor to the chief minister on energy and power Himayatullah Khan, Secretary Information and Public Relations Department Qaisar Alam, Shaukat Yousafzai said that Supreme Court had disposed of the case regarding the NHP and allowed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to raise the matter at all relevant forums, including the courts.

He said it did not make Khyber Pakhtunhwa to surrender its stance on the NHP matter. It rather enabled the government to reserve its right to take up their longstanding issue to determine NHP as per Kazi Committee Methodology (KCM).

Advisor to the chief minister on energy and power Himayatullah Khan also expatiated on the NHP issue, saying that it popped up in 1973 and was accordingly highlighted in the Constitution.

However, the NHP was capped at Rs6 billion in 1993, he said and added that later in 2007 the matter was once taken up with the federal government and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and was uncapped. “It is now Rs28 billion per annum,” he said, but the federal government has already formed a committee headed by federal Minister for Planning to resolve the matters related to water and power with the province. “The committee is meeting today (Friday) and we are going to present our case in the committee and Council of Common Interests (CCI),” Himayatullah added.

He said the CCI had already conceded the province’s stance on the payment mode of NHP as per KCM and the province has worked out its NHP at Rs135 billion per annum. The committee would now take it up for further consideration by the CCI, the chief minister advisor informed.

He said after the commissioning of the Tarbela-v, having the capacity of 1410 megawatts (MW) and Dassu of 4200 MW, the province’s annual NHP would go up to Rs200 billion.

Turning back to the cabinet decisions, Shaukat Yousafzai said it also approved amendments to the Child Protection Act and the experience terms for the chief protection officer would reduce from 15 to 10 years. He said the cabinet has also approved the salary and other perks equal to a high court judge for the provincial ombudsman, Waqar Ayub, on the pattern of other provinces.

Similarly, it approved the Domestic Violence bill in the light of the recommendations of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIC) and decided to enhance punishments in the domestic violence- related offences.

The cabinet, he said, formed a committee, which would be headed by Minister Tourism and Youth Affairs Muhammad Atif Khan, to work out changes in the forest policy to allow the development of eco-tourism roads and other infrastructures through forests in the hilly areas.

Similarly, it extended the leases for minerals in the province as bidders did not turn up for auctions of the same, while it decided to regularise the lower cadre employees of the Elementary and Secondary Education department.

The cabinet also turned down the request made by a lady member of the provincial assembly (MPA) through a call attention notice at the provincial legislature for revival of the old office timings and decided to retain the 9 to 5 timing schedule for offices in the province.

The provincial minister said to facilitate investment into the province, the cabinet approved no objection certificate (NOC) for the establishment of a sugar mills and decided to do away with the condition of the NOC for new industries in the province as well.

It approved the summary to reteive the non-custom paid (NCP) vehicles from the authorised users, the minister said and added that the provincial government endorsed the decision of the federal government of 10 billion trees plantation and decided to plant one billion trees in the province at the cast of Rs27 billion.

He said half of the amount would be provided by the federal government for the plantaion.

The cabinet also authorised the Finance Department to look after the affairs of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA) which was hitherto under the control of Excise and Taxation Department.

Shaukat said that the cabinet approved Rs 4.8 billion for development in newly merged tribal districts.