Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum in its meeting discussed the measures adopted for safety and security of mine workers and facilities provided to them by the mine owners to avoid occurrence of accidents in coal mines in Balochistan, the procedure and amount of compensation being given to the mine workers in case of death or injury during the work and also to review the grievances of Mine Owners Associations and Mine Labour Associations. The Committee members expressed strong dissatisfaction over the unsatisfactory responses given by the officers concerned regarding the questions raised on registration of Afghan nationals, number of mine workers, safety measures adopted, mode of inquiries against contractors who violate the terms among other issues. It was revealed that the law governing mining was made in 1923 and the country is still managing the affairs with an almost 100 years old law. The problems in dead grants, compensation, low wages, old methods of mining was also touched upon. The committee heard the government officials as well as representatives of owners, labours. The three sides presented contradictory information. It was seen that many of the problems stem from the law being incompatible with today’s needs. The Committee asked the Mines department to give information about number of mines, number of labourers working, number of hazardous incidents in last ten years, safety measures employed and also decided to discuss this issue in a special meeting on this matter.
Regarding the acute shortage of gas in the country especially in Abbottabad and Quetta as areas that are hit by extreme cold condition in winter, the Committee was told by SSGPL and SNGPL that both areas are at tail end which results in low pressure and both gas distribution companies are bringing new projects to counter this and at present the situation is better as compared to two or three years back.
The Committee was told by MD PMDC that there is no agreement about export of salt to India on basis of which it is being sold to them on lower prices. The Committee was told that the rock salt from Khewra salt mines is being sold at same prices to anyone who comes to purchase it, however, it remains a fact that Pakistan has not developed its salt as a brand which is resulting in low price of export of salt anywhere in the world.
Regarding increase in the prices of LNG the committee was told by Chairperson OGRA that the prices keep fluctuating on the basis of the price of the crude oil imported by PSO and PLL.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Mohsin Aziz here at the Parliament House on Monday and was attended among others by Senators Taj Muhammad Afridi, Qurat ul Ain Marri, Mir Kabeer Ahmed, Shammim Afridi, Saleem Zia, Sardar Shafiq Tareen, Bahramand Tangi, Lt. Gen. (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Dr. Jehnazeb Jamaldini, Kalsoom Parveen, Secretary Petroleum, MD PMDC, Chairperson OGRA and officials concerned.