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August 5, 2020

Unavailability of flour at official rate: KP Assembly speaker threatens DCs with suspension

Peshawar

August 5, 2020

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Ahmad Ghani once again directed the deputy commissioners (DCs) to ensure availability and sale of flour and bread at official rates or else face suspension as the House on Tuesday witnessed uproar over the issue of raise in prices of flour and roti.

Expressing anger over the failure of the DCs to control the prices, the speaker said they were inefficient and incompetent. He made these remarks when Khushdil Khan of Awami National Party (ANP) showed a roti in the House, which he said he had bought for Rs20. The MPA said the DCs were responsible for implementing government orders as they had authority, powers and resources. The chief secretary (CS) should direct all the DCs to conduct raids, check prices and seal the shops or tandoors for flouting official rates, he ruled. “Sorry to say, the CS has badly failed to work on our directives, it seems he has no control over DCs. If the government is blamed for the artificial price-hike, then why not CS and DCs be held responsible and summoned to the assembly,” he said, adding it was his last warning to the CS to implement the directives.

He asked Food Minister Qalandar Lodhi to either withdraw his statement or ensure the sale of flour and bread at official rate when he claimed roti was available at Rs10 and 20 kg bag of atta at Rs800. The speaker asked the members to bring into the notice of administration if anybody violated the official rates. On the absence of the officials of the information, sports, culture and tourism, excise and taxation, agriculture, mines and minerals departments, the speaker once again asked the CS to ensure presence of officers, not less than of grade 18, of all the departments or else he will be summoned to the House.

He directed the ministers concerned to take action against the absent officials of their departments. The speaker ruled that government officers’ use of double residences was illegal and said they cannot occupy two residences and would have to vacate one of them. The use of two official residences is illegal and against the rules, he said and directed the law minister to make officials vacate one residence. Nighat Orakzai of PPP said that Hazara Commissioner Riaz Mahsood had occupied two official accommodations since long. On the members’ complaint of hours-long power loadshedding Mushtaq Ghani summoned chief executive officer of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) to the assembly on Thursday and asked the MPAs to come with preparation about electricity problems for discussion with the Pesco chief.

He said the members should have their suggestions, complaints and points in written form. The speaker said a help desk would be established on the assembly premises instead of taking rounds of Wapda House. Fateha was offered for the departed souls of police Shuhada while tributes were paid to their sacrifices on the Police Martyrs Day. The House unanimously passed the KP Local Governments (first amendment) Bill, 2020. To a question, Finance Minister Taimur Salim Jhagra hinted at opening tourism spots after August 14. He said Covid-19 cases were on the decline due to smart lockdown and if improvement in the situation continued, the tourism sector could be opened with standard operating procedures after August 14, he stated. Speaker Mushtaq Ghani adjourned the session till Friday at 10am.