ISLAMABAD - Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning Thursday objected to the ‘step-motherly treatment’ being meted out to the smaller provinces by the federal government and claimed that the development projects are being carried out without the approval of ECNEC.
Committee headed by Senator Rehman Malik voiced for treating other province at par to Punjab. The committee pointed out that objection was raised regarding the formalities related to Metro Bus. It was also pointed out that providing Metro Bus is a good initiative but it is more needed in less developed areas which are totally being ignored.
During the meeting the members said that the next 5-year plan does not have any reform planning for the law enforcement to empower them to build their capacity and also no substantive work has been proposed to make the prosecution independent and compatible with the civil or private sector.
The committee also said there is no proper plan to enhance the opportunities of employment for youth, hence it was proposed by the committee chairman that universities and colleges should conduct vocational education classes at their campuses in the afternoon, and every college should have a Polytechnic department, which would provide 6 months training to produce skilled and semi skilled workers.
The committee chairman appreciated the loan scheme for the youth, however, he asked for presentation of record of the distribution of loan money in the next meeting of the committee. He also sought information on the procedure adopted for granting the loans to the youth. The chairman criticised government over its ‘inability’ to improve life of the poor.
Senator Rehman Malik also sought explanation over the ‘discrimination’ with Gilgit Baltistan in funds allocation. He said that Fata should also get its due share in funds and granted compensation for the heavy human and material losses due to war in tribal areas.
On the complaint of the ministry of planning and committee members, the chairman reinforced that the holding of information from the committee is unlawful and hence the committee would use its constitutional powers to ensure retrieval of information from the relevant quarters.
It was also pointed out in the committee that many companies were evading taxes with the convenience of the Capital Development Authority. The illegal construction of 3-storey buildings also came under discussion and the committee decided to refer the matter to FIA, asking it to fix responsibility and report within two weeks. The matter of delay in Nandipur Power Project was also discussed and referred to FIA for investigation.
The role of EAD vis-à-vis provinces was also discussed wherein the complaints of the provinces were examined. Reports were sought over delay in resolving the foreign investment for construction of Child Health Care Institute in Sukkur and provision of medicines, delay in construction of Bhasha Dam, and delay in the ongoing projects in Balochistan.
It was decided in the meeting that another meeting will be called to examine the issues that relate to transfer of powers to provinces under 18th Amendment, and ministers of finance and planning and development of all the provinces shall be called. Some of the members of the standing committee shall be requested to work jointly with the planning commission to remove irritants and create a direct interaction between the provinces and federation to resolve the issues vis-à-vis health, education, agriculture and social sectors.