KP govt dissolves Fata Development Authority

Updated August 24, 2019

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Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai. — INP/File
Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai. — INP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Friday approved dissolution of the Fata Development Authority (FDA) and handing over of 383-kilometre highways in the merged tribal districts from the communication and works department to the Pakhtunkhwa Highways Authority.

The cabinet also approved the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force Act, 2019, and Khasadar Force Act, 2019, and as such around 28,000 personnel would get all powers of the police force. Before merger of the tribal districts with the province, these two forces were functioning under the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan chaired the cabinet meeting.

Giving details of the meeting at a press briefing, Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said that FDA stood dissolved and its functions were handed over to the relevant departments.

Created in 2007, the authority was declared a specialised organisation and had been executing projects in six different sectors, including mining, research and development, technical education and skill development. The minister said that the authority had lost its utility after the merger.

Laws approved to give police powers to Khasadar and Levies personnel

After the merger its nomenclature was changed as Merged Areas Development Authority. The provincial government had allocated Rs3.06 billion to the defunct authority in annual development programme 2019-20 for the merged districts.

When asked about deepening financial crisis in the public sector universities in the province owing to 20 to 30 per cent funding cut by the Higher Education Commission, the minister said the government was aware of the issue and the chief minister was likely to meet vice-chancellors in next two days to find out a solution.

Mr Yousafzai said that the provincial highways authority would now look after 383-kilometre roads that connected tribal districts with the settled districts. The roads included Khar-Nawagai, Chappril-Parachinar and Thall-Mirali. Repair and maintenance of these roads required Rs532.80 million.

He said that the chief minister expressed displeasure over delay in preparation of Levies and Khasadar Forces’ Bills and directed the relevant department to finalise drafts before Aug 30. He said that regularisation of personnel was pending due to delay in preparation of the bills.

He said that Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department would look after affairs of mosques and payment of honorarium to prayer leaders in merged districts. Earlier, social welfare department was paying honorarium to the prayer leaders in defunct Fata.

The cabinet postponed coming election of teachers union in the public sector schools. The election was scheduled to be held in September after 25 years. Concerned department would table its report to the cabinet regarding election of the teachers association.

The cabinet included all the elementary and secondary education boards in West Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1958 to discourage strikes and trade unionism in these boards. Under the act, employees of the boards are bound to provide services to students.

The minister said that the decision was taken in the larger interest of the students.

He said that the cabinet approved formation of Project Implementation Unit to oversee standardisation of higher secondary schools. The new unit would provide missing facilities, including boundary walls, additional rooms, IT Web, water supply and electricity.

The cabinet approved amendments in The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Drug Rules, 1982. Chemists holding C- category licence would wind up pharmaceutical business before June 2020. The health department had framed amendments in the existing rules. Establishment of a 10-member Board of Arbitration was also approved for medical teaching institutions. Retired judges will be members of the board.

The cabinet also approved Rs500,000 cash compensation for victims attacked by wild animals, particularly common leopards in Abbottabad district. Subdivision Peshawar was divided into subdivisions and four tehsils.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Legal Aid Bill, 2019, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Enforcement Women’s Property Rights Act, 2019, were also approved. The cabinet approved restoration of porters and road inspectors in communication and works and irrigation departments which were earlier declared “dying cadres”.

A total of 157 road inspectors would be appointed and each inspector will be responsible for maintenance of 150-kilometre road. The cabinet approved black topping of 35 kilometers Manglawar-Malam Jaba Road, and payment of compensation to 120 families who were dislocated due to construction of Swat Expressway.

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2019