Islamabad, January 17, 2018 (PPI-OT):A meeting of the senate standing committee on States and Frontier Regions, SAFRON was held at Parliament house Islamabad under the chairmanship of Senator Hilal ur Rehman today at Parliament house. The main agenda was to review the alarmingly slow pace of development activities in fata, updated status of FATA University, complaints of public on non-provision of text books to Fata students and examination of irregularities in award of Mining Leases by Fata development authority. The meeting was attended by Minister State for SAFRON Mr Ghalib Khan Wazir, Sikanqar Qayyum ACS fata, senators and officials from FATA.

At the outset Senator Hilal ur Rehman inquired regarding approval of two package based schemes worth 800 million rupees and that there were complaints of irregularities in the approval of these schemes. He asked the ACS FATA as to how the sites were selected, who gave the feasibilities, why were names of individuals mentioned in the schemes as the schemes appeared to be individual based initiatives.

He also indicated that the schemes did not appear to be ‘High Impact’ initiatives despite the fact that their cost stood at almost a billion rupees. The ACS replied that the schemes were identified as governor directives; he also remarked that the names were actually names of the area and not the individuals. The Chairman remarked that will the ACS FATA guarantee that none of the individuals whose names are mentioned in the nomenclatures of the schemes FATA ADP 957 and 958 get the contracts. The ACS guaranteed that the tender processes will be carried out on merit.

Secretary P and D briefed the forum that out of a total 444 new schemes 217 have so far been approved at various development forums in FATA and the balance schemes stand at 227. The chairman highlighted that as per the data submitted despite the fact that 227 schemes are yet to be approved which should have been approved as per development calendar by end of October 2017 then why are a total of 77 schemes pending at P and D and Fata directorates for approval. The forum was informed that the PC-1s of rest of 150 schemes were not prepared because of site selection issues. The senators indicated that it seems that there was no coordination or control between Fata secretariat and the Political Agents. Hence, FATAs development was being compromised.

The standing committee was briefed that the total FATA ADP for the current year 2018 was 26.5 billion rupees and total reconciled expenditure stood at 3.5 billion rupees. It was noted that as it took 6 months for Fata secretariat to utilize a mere billion , so in the next 6 month the pace of the utilization stays the same there is a chance that a total of 19.5 billion rupees will be lapsed from the Fata development budget.

The Committee was also briefed in detail about the irregularities in issuance of license and NOCs for mining purposes in FATA especially in Mohmend Agency. The Committee observed that massive irregularities were being reported in violation of Mineral Concession rules 2005 and there is a need to take appropriate action. It was observed that the enquiry report by Ministry of Safron instituted on the recommendations of the standing against irregularities observed in issuance of mining license by FDA to M/S Bajaur Ancient variety for Napharite and serpentine was lopsided and flawed. As it failed to refer to rules while examining the case. Especially rule 100 of the mineral concession rules which clearly states that a mining licence cannot be issued for more than one group of minerals.

The Committee also pondered over the public petition with regard to non-availability of text books in Mohmend Agency. The petitioner informed that nearly 40000 children were without text books and were facing problems in their studies. The Committee directed the concerned quarters to submit detailed report in this regard and ensure provision of sufficient books to the students. The Committee was also given a detailed briefing on working and performance of FATA University.

It was informed that the University was established in 2013 and the first Vice Chancellor was appointed in 2016. The Committee expressed its displeasure over the fact that despite assurance by the Chairman HEC, no tangible steps have been taken for establishment of Sub-Campuses in other agencies of FATA. The Committee however, assured its cooperation to the management of the university to make it more vibrant institution of higher learning for students of FATA.

The meeting was attended by Senators Taj Muhammad Afridi, Haji Muhammad Khan Afridi, Hidayat Ullah, Malik Najam-ul-Hassan, Ahmad Hassan, Khanzada Khan, Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Miss Sitara Ayaz and senior officers of the Ministry.

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H.No.7, Cat-II, G-8/2,