PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Tuesday voiced concern over a delay by the federal government in the provision of Rs10 billion flood relief assistance announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the province and said the provincial government would use all political and legal options to claim the province’s rights.

The cabinet met here with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair and ministers, chief secretary and administrative secretaries in attendance.

Spokesman for the government Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif told reporters afterwards that if the centre didn’t provide the province with the promised flood relief assistance, then the latter would take the matter to the court of law.

According to him, the chief minister also directed the authorities to conduct a survey for establishing a dam on the Swat River to prevent flood damages. Early completion of an ongoing survey for losses, which were suffered by the people from the recent flash floods, was ordered to ensure their rehabilitation and return to their houses.

Cabinet vows to protect province’s rights; CM orders survey for dam on Swat River

The spokesman said the cabinet was also informed that KP was the only province to start the payment of compensation to the flood-hit people and that the compensation exercise would be completed in light of the survey’s findings.

He complained that the centre didn’t treat the province fairly and that it wanted to create financial hardships for the latter by denying it the due net hydel profit (NHP) valuing billions of rupees.

“This discriminatory conduct of the federal government towards us [KP] is against the norms of democracy,” he said.

Mr Saif said the deliberate delay in the provision of resources and denial of due rights by the centre had caused financial constraints for the province but the provincial government had been managing it by alternate arrangements.

He said the cabinet approved the upgradation of Razar tehsil of Swabi district as a subdivision as well as the provision of remuneration and allowances to the local government representatives under the relevant rules, which would cost Rs1.479 billion annually.

The cabinet decided about the selection of the convener of tehsil city council through elections to be conducted by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

It also approved the KP Conservancy and Biosphere Reserve Rules, 2022, to protect biodiversity and promote its sustainable use.

The cabinet approved the KP Environmental Improvement Fund (KKP-EIF) Board Rules, 2022, which authorise the chairperson and the secretary of the EIF to operate the designated account jointly with due approval of the board and make expenditures as per rules.

The KP-EIF Board Rules, 2022, include those for some basic essentials like meetings of the board, decisions of the board and invitation to experts.

Also, the cabinet approved the securing of $60 million soft loans from the Asian Development Bank for the rehabilitation and restoration of irrigation channels and infrastructure damaged by the flash floods.

The cabinet approved the KP Forestry Commission (Amendment) Act, 2022, as well as the transfer of 18 kanals of land owned by the local government department at Zafar Park Batkhela, Malakand, to the higher education department for establishing the girls degree college and over three kanals of land owned by the irrigation department to the higher education department for setting up a girls degree college in Urmur Bala area of Peshawar.

It also approved changes to the composition of the TransPeshawar board of directors.

The government’s spokesman said the cabinet also approved the establishment of the Provincial Flood Response Coordination Centre to coordinate with the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre to hold smooth relief operations and achieve optimum synergy between federal and provincial authorities, disaster management authorities and donors in the wake of the recent devastating floods.

Mr Saif said the cabinet approved the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (Amendment) Act, 2022, as well as the appointment of Amer Khan Jadoon as the chief executive officer to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Limited. Also, the draft Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hydel Development Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was approved.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2022

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