PESHAWAR - The Senate Functional Committee on less developed areas of Khyber Pakthunkhwa here Monday strongly recommended provision of due water share to KP under 1991 Water Accord, tax amount generated from tobacco and non-separation of hydelpower generation component in Diamir-Bhasha dam.

The committee also recommended establishment of a state-of-the-art, engineering university and a medical college in erstwhile Fata with campuses in all tribal districts to provide quality higher education facilities to tribal students at their doorsteps.

The meeting of the Senate Committee with its Chairman Senator Usman Kakar in the chair was attended by Senators Azeem Musakhel, Nighat Mirza, Momin Khan Afridi and Fida Muhammad was held here at civil secretariat. Member National Assembly from tribal districts including MNA Munir Orakzai and MNA Fida Muhammad Khan also participated.

Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) KP, Dr Shahzad Bangash, ACS merged tribal districts Sikandar Qayyum, Secretary P&D Shahab Ali Shah, Joint Secretary SAFRON, Rana Ikhlaq and Secretary Law and Order Zubair Qureshi briefed the committee about issues, challenges and Government’s reforms and projects for development of backward areas of KP.

The committee strongly recommended setting up of university campuses in every tribal district, increasing funds for water and dams in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for construction of new hydro power projects, construction of already announced Bajaur-Wana Highway, recruitment on nearly 8000 vacant posts mostly in education and health departments, construction of an international standard stadium in each tribal district, scholarship for tribal students studying in professional colleges and conducting of re-survey about population census in tribal districts on scientific lines.

Regarding problems and challenges of less-developed areas KP, the Committee recommended development of tourism sector in northern areas of KP, construction of cadet college, engineering university campus, increasing middle and girls schools, construction of Kalash road in Chitral besides 24 hours opening of Lowari Tunnel to provide all weather travelling facilities to people.

Massive forestation should be launched and solid efforts should be taken for prevention of illicit cutting of trees in Chitral besides provision of gas and electricity facilities to all deprived areas.

The chairman of committee sought complete report of schools and colleges destroyed due to militancy during last 16 years in KP and erstwhile Fata besides number of people lost their lives and injured as well as damages caused to other infrastructure including health, bridges and roads. He also sought report about number of TDPs who are yet to go to their native areas. Senator Usman Kakar said 71pc areas of Pakistan are less developed and luckily 90pc of all these areas are blessed with abundance of natural resources including minerals, mines, forests, wildlife and gemstones. If this hidden potential is properly tapped, these areas can be brought soon at par with developed regions of the country.

He said the country can’t achieve progress unless equal distribution of financial resources based on justice and merit are given to the federating units.

Earlier, the committee was briefed about Govt. reforms and projects initiated to bring the less developed areas at par with developed regions of the country. It was told that Rs24billion ADP for fiscal year 2018-19 has been approved and mega projects would be completed with assistance of Federal Govt. organizations.

ACS Fata, Sikandar Qayyum told Committee that Levi and Khasadar Force will be merged in KP police and no employee would be deprived of job. He said those who remained surplus for some reasons would be adjusted in District Municipal Administration.

He said 96pc TDPs have returned to their hometowns in tribal districts. Work on state of the art Shahid Afridi Cricket Stadium was continuing in Bara and will be completed soon.

The Fata’s development budget which was only Rs16580million in 2012-13 had jumped to record Rs24010million in 2017-18 in last five years. Around 1292 schemes in different heads completed with financial allocation of Rs59846.924million in tribal districts. 

In ADP 2018-19, 70pc funds would be allocated for ongoing and 30pc new schemes as eight percent funds would be spent on health, 20 each on education and communication sector under Fata Development Plan. Fata Development Authority has constructed 10 small dams and work on others are in full swing including Kurram Tangi dam. Under Literacy Programme, Govt has started BS program in different colleges of tribal districts whereas admission is being provided to students in eight discipline in Fata University established near Kohat. Fata Education Foundation was established that are assistance tribal students in terms of scholarship. To promote fish farming, carp hatchery will be established in Mohmand district whereas work on 20sports facilities is being constructed.