The Senate Standing Committee Development and Reform in its meeting on Thursday at Parliament House, in addition to new projects stressed the need for maintenance of GT Road. The need to improve fencing on motorways and increase in surveillance was also emphasized. Issues taken up included design and upgrade of ML-1 and establishment of a dry port near Havelian. A detailed briefing on increase in Toll-Tax was also given.
Chaired by Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani, the meeting was attended by Senator Dr. Asad Ashraf, Senator Gianchand and senior officers from the Ministry of Planning Development and Reform and Ministry of Communications along with all concerned. Representatives of the National Highway Authority (NHA, Higher Education Commission (HEC), Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and Pakistan Railways also attended the meeting. The Minister for Planning Development and Reform Mr. Asad Umar was present.
While discussing compliance on various recommendations, progress on Naigaj Dam came under discussion. It was revealed that action had been taken by WAPDA and a reminder had been sent for compliance. The Committee decided that an exclusive meeting would be held on this issue and that a response from the Department of Irrigation, Government of Sindh must be sought within a week.
While taking up the issue of 300 scholarships in less developed areas for female students the Committee was informed that a proposal had been made. However, a program in conjunction with the Ehsas Program is being launched that is planning to award 50000 scholarships, this is way more than the previously suggested quantum. HEC recommended that the Committee should wait until this program is launched and once a report is submitted, if it fails to convince the members, 300 scholarships, mentioned earlier will be added as per Committee recommendations. The Committee was informed that 25000 scholarships have been allocated for less developed areas.
Discussing the issue of special seats for students that belong to FATA and Balochistan, the Committee was informed that Pakistan Medical Council would be able to address this query better. The Minister for Planning Development and Reform Mr. Asad Umar assured the Committee that he will take up the issue with Advisor Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza. He said that this matter could be taken up with the CCI as well. The matter will be referred to Senate Standing Committee on Less Developed Areas.
Discussing design, drawings and upgrade of Main Line (ML-1) and establishment of Dry Port near Havelian, the Committee was informed that this project will generate jobs and revenue. It will also increase line speed and capacity and freight volume. The Committee directed that traffic count of M1, M2 and M9 must be submitted to the Committee within a week. Keeping account of traffic congestion, it was recommended that a traffic strategy must be formulated as well.
Deliberating over month wise increase in toll-tax tax, the Committee was presented with percentage wise details of increase in toll rates.