PESHAWAR    -   The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) cabinet on Tuesday formally approved permanent merger of Khasadar and Levies forces into provincial police.

Provincial Minister for Information Shaukat Yousafzai told media here after the cabinet meeting that the cabinet had approved “Khasadar Force (absorption in KP police) Rules 2019” and “Levies Force (absorption in KP police) Rules 2019.”

He said after the permanent merger of the two forces, the staff of these forces would be entitled to all the privileges, facilities and benefits which were being enjoyed by the KP Police personnel.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, also approved KP Special Police Force Regularization Act 2019 under which the services of all contract or fixed pay police personnel till August 1, 2019 would be regularized.

Meanwhile, the cabinet also gave a green light to the promotions of BPS 16, 17, 18 and 19 officers of the Provincial Ombudsman Secretariat to the next grades.

Yousafzai further said the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination had sent a draft of the bill, seeking amendment in the constitution for the creation of Bahawalpur-Southern Punjab Province, to the provincial government which was discussed at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

“Senators Bharamand Tangi of PPP and others had tabled the constitutional amendment bill in the parliament to this effect,” the minister explained.

The minister further informed media that the cabinet had also approved exemption in rules for the purchase of contraceptive medicines from the market, adding that the measure was part of the efforts to control population growth rate.

The cabinet also gave a go ahead signal to the setting up of Environmental Empowerment Fund Board to be chaired by Secretary Environment while the other members would include secretaries Finance, Planning and Development, Local Government, Social Welfare and Industries.

The representatives of Chamber of Commerce, Sarhad Rural Support Programme, Environmental Protection Agency and other stakeholders would also be part of the Board.

The purpose of setting up the Board is to run the affairs related to improvement and protection of the environment.

The cabinet also approved draft of the bill, seeking elimination of begging from the KP and taking measures for the rehabilitation of professional beggars and making them useful citizens.

It also approved amendments in the KP Registration of Private Educational Institutions Ordinance 2001 under which the regulatory function of Higher Education Authority would be strengthened and the process of registration of private institutions would be expedited.

The cabinet decided to chalk out sustainable development strategy (2019-23) to make the development projects more result-oriented and continue the reforms of the previous governments.

The cabinet approved the awarding of compensation totaling Rs101.7 million to the families of 25 passengers who were killed in an accident in Upper Kohistan.

The cabinet also okayed the KP Sales Tax Online Services (audit) Rules 2019, KP Sales Tax Online Services (Recovery) Rules 2019 and the release of Rs405.299 million additional funds for the purchase of 50- Kanal land in Sara-e-Norang in district Lakki Marwat for setting up Special Levies Police Training Centre.