PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is facing shortage of around one million housing units despite the launch of several major housing schemes by the government, the provincial assembly was told on Friday.
Speaking on the floor of the house during question hour, housing minister Dr Amjad Ali Khan said that the shortage of housing units in the province stood from 700,000 to 900,000.
“There is a significant shortage of housing units in the province despite the launch of several schemes,” he said while responding to question of opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) MPA Inayatullah Khan.
The minister said the department wouldn’t acquire agricultural land for housing schemes in the province.
He said in order to overcome that shortage, the government had directed the deputy commissioners, including those appointed to the merged tribal districts, to identify its unoccupied land and share its details with the department for the launch of housing schemes.
Giving details of the ongoing projects, Dr Amjad said five major housing schemes were likely to be completed by the end of the year.
He said 95 per cent civil work at Jalozai housing scheme in Nowshera district had been completed.
Minister says five housing projects to be completed by end of year
The minister said the department had paid Rs1 billion to Wapda for installing grid stations for electrification of the scheme.
He said high-rise flats in Hayatabad, Havelian Township Abbottabad, Jerma Housing scheme Kohat and Civil Quarters Flats (Phase II) Peshawar were near completion. “Three housing schemes have been completed, while 10 are in the pipeline,” he said.
Dr Amjad said the federal ministry of housing and works had planned the development of a mega housing project on the outskirts of Peshawar and 10,000 kanals of land had been acquired for the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.
He added that the ministry had already issued offer letters to successful members of the schemes.
The minister said land dispute with occupants would be resolved very soon.
MPA Inayatullah suggested that the provincial government come up with comprehensive master plan for new housing schemes in the province and launch projects on need basis.
He said the government should ban housing schemes on agricultural lands.
The lawmakers paid tribute to veteran journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai, who passed away on Thursday after protracted illness.
Speaking on a point of order, labour minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said Rahimullah Yousafzai was an institution, who earned reputation across the world due to his professionalism.
He said Mr Rahimullah had worked for the rights of journalists.
MPA Maulana Lutf Rehman said the deceased was an authority on regional issues, including Afghanistan and Taliban.
He said Mr Rahimullah served the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan through his reporting and articles.
Other MPAs from the opposition benches termed Mr Rahimullah a legend, who inspired readers through articles and news stories.
The house witnessed disturbance when Balochistan Awami Party member Bilawal Afridi tabled an adjournment motion regarding the appointment of non-local nurses by the health directorate to the newly-merged tribal districts.
He said the directorate had advertised a total of 481 posts of male and female nurses for tribal districts in Oct 2020.
“Only 29 people recruited against vacant posts belong to the merged districts and the remaining 452 hail from Swat, Dir and Chitral districts. These appointments are an injustice to the people of the region,” he said.
As the lawmaker wanted to continue with his tirade against the health directorate, Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani gave the floor to labour minister Shaukat Yousafzai for reply.
However, Mr Afridi, who was joined by ANP MPA from Mohmand tribal district Nisar Khan, created a ruckus in the house.
The chair assured the protesting MPAs that the motion would be admitted for detailed discussion once the minister gave explanation on the matter.
Both MPAs did not pay heed and continued with their protest.
The hue and cry was so loud that exasperated Speaker Ghani while referring to the protesting lawmakers, quipped, “What these idiots are doing.”
The chair also warned MPA Nisar that his entry to the house could be banned if he didn’t mend his ways.
He adjourned the sitting until Monday without completing the agenda.
Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2021