PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani on Tuesday came down hard on the chief secretary and deputy commissioners across the province over failure to address flour crisis and control roti price to the misery of the common man.
“All deputy commissioners in districts are incompetent and the chief secretary has no control on them,” the speaker observed during a debate on flour crisis and high bread rate.
The debate began after MPA Khushdil Khan produced a small bread saying he’s bought it for Rs20 against the official rate of Rs10.
He wondered if the food minister or lawmakers were to enforce the official roti price.
“The deputy commissioners are responsible for arresting those involved in flour crisis,” he said.
Warns he will summon chief secy if flour, roti price issue not resolved
The speaker expressed concerns about the issue and said if the chief secretary had a control over deputy commissioners, then no one would have dared sell 20kg flour bag at Rs1,300 against the official rate of Rs900 and bread at Rs20 against the official rate of Rs10.
“If DCs are unable to control [flour] crisis, then what is their utility? Their incompetence is defaming the government,” he said.
The chair wondered why the chief secretary was not seeking explanation from the deputy commissioners over failure to control flour and roti crises.
He said how the crisis would be over if DCs didn’t come out of their air-conditioned offices.
Mr Ghani warned that if flour and roti issues persisted, he would call the chief secretary to the assembly.
Through a calling attention notice, Salahuddin of the opposition ANP complained that officials of police and other departments took bribe from container drivers transporting goods to Afghanistan on Frontier Road on the outskirts of the provincial capital.
He said thousands of Afghanistan-bound trucks and containers loaded with vegetables, fruits and other goods used the Frontier Road and the truckers had to bribe officials of the police and other department in the name of taxes.
“If drivers don’t meet illegal demands of the police, the trucks and container-trucks are forced to park on the roadside for two to three days leading to the decaying of food items,” he said.
The lawmaker demanded the early resolution of the issue.
Responding to a calling attention notice, law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan said he has already asked the relevant authorities to address the truckers’ grievances.
He told MPA Salahuddin that things would improve in that respect fast.
On a point of order, PPP lawmaker Nighat Orakzai raised the issue of the occupation of more than one official residences by bureaucrats.
She said certain bureaucrats had occupied two government houses, one in Peshawar and the other in the districts, where they were posted.
The house passed the KP Local Government (First Amendment) Bill, 2020, which was tabled by special assistant to the chief minister on local government Kamran Bangash.
The chair later adjourned the session until Friday.
Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2020