PESHAWAR, June 25: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti said on Monday that government had decided that districts with hydel power generating units would get substantial raise in development funds to improve socio-economic conditions there.

The share of the districts having hydel power units would be raised from five per cent to 10 per cent of the total income, the province gets annually under the head of net hydel profit, according to the chief minister.

“We believe in equitable distribution of resources among areas with natural resources,” Mr Hoti told the provincial assembly’s budget session that ended here on Monday.

Earlier, the provincial assembly passed supplementary budget after a lackluster debate on the revised estimates of expenditures of line departments for the outgoing financial year.

The chief minister said that government had earlier announced enhancement of oil and gas producing districts’ annual share on account of royalty and petroleum levies from five per cent to 10 per cent from the next financial year.

“We have decided to apply the same decision to the hydel power generating districts in an effort to distribute resources among the districts to improve services and infrastructure,” he said.

The districts to benefit from the government’s decision include Swabi, Malakand, Swat, and Kohistan.

Mr Hoti said that provincial government focused on developing new hydel power generation units in the areas with potential to generate clean energy.

Referring to the inauguration of work on establishment of a small hydel power generation unit in the province, the chief minister said it was a false impression that provincial government set up power units with an accumulative power generation capacity of 200 megawatts.

“Feasibility studies of 11 more power generation projects are being carried out and once the units become operational they would jointly generate 1,350 megawatts electricity, setting in motion socio and economic development in the province,” said Mr Hoti.

The feasibility studies, he said, would take about two years to be completed after which work on their establishment would begin.

He said that government had served the province to its best capabilities, protecting its rights and interest at every national forum. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s share from the Public Sector Development Programme, said Mr Hoti, had increased from Rs25 billion to Rs51 billion. “We pursued the federal government and got the province’s share increased substantially,” he said.

He said that government had presented a balanced budget for the fiscal year 2012-13. Within the available resources a budget better than the new plan was not possible, he added.

During the course of discussion on the supplementary budget for the outgoing fiscal year, the provincial assembly witnessed some intense arguments from Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain in support of his endeavour to establish a television channel in the public sector.

He told the house that a lobby in the federal government was creating hurdles for the provincial government to establish its own TV channel.

Speaking on a cut motion, moved by Mufti Kifayatullah, the minister said that provincial government had decided to launch TV channel from its own resources and Rs100 million had been allocated in the Annual Development Programme for the year 2012-13 for it.

“There is a strong lobby at the federal level that is pressurising the authorities concerned not to give permission to the provincial government to launch TV channel from Peshawar,” said Mr Hussain.

Initially, he said, federal government had made commitment to provide funds for Abaseen TV from Peshawar.

He said that a group, which was running a Pashto TV channel in the region, had established its monopoly and did not allow another party to launch TV channel. He said that TV channels based in Afghanistan were ready to purchase landing rights to launch transmission from Pakistan, but they were not allowed.

The minister said that provincial government was ready to fulfil requirements, terms and conditions of the federal government for launching local TV channel, despite that permission was not granted.

“Now the provincial government has decided to launch TV channel after budget session,” he said.

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