PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Tuesday approved a summary to declare 49 newly-created tehsils in merged and settled districts of the province as local areas as a requirement for holding the next local body elections in the province.

The cabinet meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and attended by ministers, chief secretary and administrative secretaries.

A statement issued here said the cabinet noted that under sections 4 and 5 of the KP Local Government Act, 2013, it was imperative to declare the new tehsils established by the board of revenue under the law recently as the local areas for the tehsil’s government as the next local body elections would be conducted at the tehsils’ subdivision level.

Of 49 tehsils, 25 are in merged districts and 24 in settled ones.

Cabinet also okays 33pc representation for women in tehsil councils

The cabinet also agreed to reserve 33 per cent representation in tehsil councils for women and five per cent for youth, farmers and minorities each.

The chief minister said the government fulfilled its promise of democratising the whole system of governance by taking it down to the grassroots level.

The cabinet reviewed the sustainable development strategy for 2019-23 presented by planning and development department that stressed for the road map by the political leadership and bureaucracy for the development of the province, reconciling the reforms agenda with the developmental strategy and redefining the direction for the social and economic development of the province.

The cabinet also agreed to the KP Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission Rules, 2019.

The rules stipulate a search and scrutiny committee to be headed by the chief secretary and other members including additional chief secretary, secretaries of law and establishment and a member of provincial assembly make recruitments of its chairman and commissioners.

The cabinet approved the grant of exemption to the communication and works department for the continuation and acceleration of work on the 59 kilometers long road widening in Swat district from the KP Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Act.

It also approved to change the name of Katlung Interchange with the Babuzai Interchange on the Swat Expressway.

The cabinet also approved to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of special assistant to the chief minister on Industries with a 13-other members to review the process of inspection of industrial units in the province and identify weaknesses to address them.

The policy will be made reconcilable to the present day needs to introduce inspection free regime ensuring minimal human intervention and providing ‘ease to do business and facilities’ to attract mass scale investment in the province.

The cabinet approved the KP Universities (2nd Amendment Bill-2019)’ extending the law to the erstwhile Fata and Pata to bring the whole affairs of the universities in one loop.

However, the universities before the merger will continue to work and function under the already laid-down law.

The cabinet formally approved the policy guidelines for the Annual Development Plan in light of the laid-down Rules of Business, 1985, and the verdict of the Peshawar High Court.

There are 14 key principles for the ADP that included the plans execution and monitoring of spending for achieving the goals investment in the ADP for the development of provincial economy and improving the lives of the people, maximising the impact, spending on the people, elimination of all sorts of interventions.

The policy will be on sectoral basis linked to the achievement of targets, promoting regional development across the province, investment in ADP in conjunction with other sectors including the foreign projects assistance, public sector development, district budget etc, transparency of ADP, allocation and spending under the share of the districts, tehsils etc.

The cabinet also approved special compensation package for goods lost or destroyed in market of Miramshah and Mirali during the Zarb-i-Azb military operation against militants in light of the report of a special committee formed for the purpose.

The amount agreed upon as a compensation included Rs2.8 billion for Mir Ali Bazaar and Rs331.454 million for Miramshah Bazaar.

The cabinet also approved the renaming of Swati Gate Peshawar as the Jansher Khan Road in recognition of services of Squash international player and executive allowance to the planning cadre on the analogy of the secretariat officers.

The cabinet also approved the release policy for developmental funds empowering the departments to re-appropriate intra-sectoral funds as sending of such cases to finance or planning and development departments unnecessarily delay development work.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019