KP cabinet takes decisions related to wheat procurement, health, education

PESHAWAR   -   The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cabinet on Wednesday met here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and took several decisions about energy production, education, food security, procurement of wheat, and sustainable development. The cabinet approved the rehabilitation and restoration of the 17-megawatt (MW) Ranolia Hydropower Project in Kohistan Lower.  The Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) had already approved the project at a cost of Rs.8.1 billion with the condition that the same will be processed for the approval of the provincial cabinet for inclusion as a non-ADP scheme. The cabinet approved its inclusion as a non-ADP scheme and financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank.The cabinet also approved the acquisition of 327 kanal land for the 88 MW Gabral Kalam Hydropower project being financed by the World Bank in District Swat. On commissioning the project is expected to generate over Rs.7.4 billion incomes per year for the Province. It also approved the additional compensation in respect of land and built-up property based on an independent valuation study for executing the 300 MW Balakot Hydropower project on Kunhar River Manshera. The cabinet approved the shifting of manual registration books to automated motor vehicle registration smart cards. The Excise and Taxation Department had already signed an MOU with the National Security Printing Company (NSPC) of the Federal Government for the provision of registration certificates and supply of smart cards in 2022. The rates of such registration and cards would be Rs 574 as compared to Rs 1475 in Islamabad, Rs 530 in Punjab and Rs 1600 in Sindh, the cabinet informed. It also approved the utilization of the funds of the defunct FATA Development Authority amounting to Rs 500 million and the Rs 43 million accumulated markup over it under the accelerated implementation program in the merged districts. The cabinet approved the acquisition of over 34 kanal land for the construction of the Judicial Complex at Panah Kotm Upper Dir.

Enactment of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Registration of Godown Rules 2022 as required by the KP Godown Registration Act 2021 was also given the nod.

The Act provided for the registration and regulation of Godowns ensuring a comprehensive system regarding the stable supply and availability of goods and for matters connected therewith.

The cabinet approved the provision of free and quality education from class 7th to 12th for talented students of government schools of the province in quality education institutions of the province.

On the proposal of the Chief Minister, the cabinet decided to double both the amount of monthly scholarship and the number of such talented but poor beneficiary students of the scheme from the next academic year. The cabinet directed to ensure no student was left without education because of the non-availability of textbooks and related facilities. It also directed that a study be conducted to compare the quality and cost of the textbooks published by the government and private sector. The utilization of old textbooks was also approved in the larger interest of the people of the Province.

 The Cabinet conditionally approved the proposal of establishing the National Industrial Development and Regulatory Authority (NIDRA) as required under the constitution to enable the Federal Government to unify all the entities like Economic Zones – Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Tax Free Zones, Integrated Tourism Zones (ITZs), Special Technology Zones (STZs) and Expert Processing Zones (EPZs). It is worth mentioning that a working group set up by Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) for SEZs chaired by Chairman Privatization Commission had proposed the unification of all the above entities. However, such unification would as per the constitution require the provincial government’s approval and entrusting its authority unconditionally to the Federal Government.

After this approval, the aforementioned NIDRA would under the executive and legislative authority assume all roles to the extent of zones, required to establish, regulate, develop, operate, and manage them under the NIDRA law.

The cabinet had given conditional approval that “the incentives extended under SEZ, EPZ, and STZA shall be brought under the umbrella of a single organization to facilitate investors and the operations, management and administrative control of the zones and industrial estate should remain with provinces for better facilitation of investors. After a threadbare discussion, the cabinet approved the procurement of 600,000 Metric tons of wheat for the current year.  The rate of 40 kg wheat was fixed at Rs.3900 just like the rate of the Federal, Punjab and Balochistan Governments.

The cabinet strictly directed the concerned authorities to ensure transparency, quality and quantity of the wheat at every step of the process.

It was also decided that the interest of the local growers should be protected at all costs and for this purpose, a comprehensive work plan and SoPs starting from the district level to the divisional and provincial levels were also chalked out and approved.

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