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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions

Event Date: 2019-09-20

Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions in its meeting on Friday has asked the ministry of Safron to call a consultative meeting of HEC and PMDC to sort out the matter of doubling the quota of FATA students from erstwhile FATA in different medical universities and colleges. The committee was earlier told that the quota of engineering students has been doubled from 108 to 216 by the Pakistan Engineering Council and the quota of other disciplines has been increased from 1719 to 3192 seats after the March 2017 cabinet meeting decision. 

The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi here at the Parliament House on Friday. The Committee also discussed the matter of regularisation of project employees of Health in ex-FATA. The committee was told that the number of projects and contract employees as been sorted out and listed. Around 1900 employees for 30 projects are awaiting regularization and health department does not have any objection to the process but the decision requires a piece of legislation to support it. Health department officials told the meeting that a summary to move the required legislation will be moved which will be taken to the provincial assembly after being vetted by the law department. The committee gave two weeks’ time to move the summary and asked for a report once it is done. The Committee called for treating the employees of erstwhile FATA the same way as the contract employees of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are treated after the merger.

While discussing the ADP of tribal districts for the current financial year the Committee was told that total fund for the tribal districts is rupees 103.038 billion with local component of 24 billion, foreign assistance of 20.03 billion and tribal decade strategy of 59 billion. It was told that the local component comprising of ADP has been consistent at 24 billion for the previous two financial years. In 2017-18, 20 out of 24 billion were released and utilized while in 2018-19 complete 24 billion were released and utilized. In the current financial year 4 out of 24 billion have been released. The Committee expressed concern at the excessive throw forward of 64.863 billion and recommended lowering the number of projects in each financial year so that we complete projects. The Committee was told that the ADP has 884 ongoing and 134 new schemes and the plan is to complete 274 schemes this year. 

The Committee also discussed supply of electricity to small industries in erstwhile FATA and PATA including crush, soap stone and marble industries. CEO TESCO told the meeting that 36 grid stations come under TESCO of which 19 are of TESCO and 17 are shared with PESCO with T/L lines of 717 km, HT lines of 10,209 km and LT lines of 6277 km. TESCO has a total of 442,671 consumers out of which 402,040 are domestic consumers most of whom are running on subsidy without paying electricity bills. Industrial consumers of TESCO are 4,247 in number and out of these too, many are unregistered. Unregistered meters and non-regularized loads were termed as the biggest factors for TESCO’s losses. The Committee also heard the local industry representatives and asked TESCO and industry representatives to hold a meeting and reach a solution on metering, load management and payment of bills in the area so that the industry also survives and TESCO also maintains its business.

The Committee was also given briefing on the public petition regarding difficulties of Afghan Refugees residing in Pakistan and steps taken in form of their registration cards, driving licenses, bank accounts, and schooling. While discussing a question regarding establishment of a land settlement unit for carrying out land settlement in FATA after its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Committee was told that PC-I has been prepared for the land settlement and creation of GIS based digital geo mapping for seven sub-divisions in the first phase.