The Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) on Thursday was informed that measures has been taken to bring the religious seminaries (Deeni Maddaris) of erstwhile FATA into mainstream education system.

Additional Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told the committee that summary has been sent to the provincial government to strengthen the religious seminaries in the newly merged tribal districts.

Around Rs 87 million was being allocated for the mainstreaming of seminaries and its employees, from which Rs 67 million had been released whereas the salaries for the staff would be issued consequently, he added.

The committee was reviewed in detail with the issues of timely completion of projects of gas supply and allocation of funds in the former FATA districts.

The gas supply company would pay the cost of Rs 8,000 per connection whereas the outstanding cost would be borne by the provincial government, he added.

The committee was informed that since the last two months, special attention was given to the development of tribal districts and Rs 16 billion schemes were initiated in this regard.

To improve the power situation in erstwhile FATA, the committee was told that funds would also be spent for the development of electricity infrastructure.

The KP Additional Chief Secretary said that the total demand of the merged districts was 800 MW while the system could load up to 200 MW electricity.

The committee was further informed that a district-level working group has been set up to consult with the parliamentarians to identify the new schemes.

Regarding illegal recruitment in the Health Department of the province, Director Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said the concerned people have been transferred and would be served showcase notices.

The members of committee expressing concerns over the matter said such mafia was active in the province. The committee had called the Chief Secretary and Secretary Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to brief the committee over the issue in next meeting.

The committee was told that there were complaints about lack of ambulances and ultrasound facility in the newly merge districts. The Director Health informed the committee that the department would provide 50 new ambulances to the healthcare centers of the tribal districts. “Physicians are being offered handsome salaries to join hospitals in the tribal districts so that people in the area could get better health facilities,” he added.

The medical specialists, he said, were offered Rs 450,000 salary for the doctor and Rs 300,000 for the medical officer. As many as 230 seats of medical officers are vacant in the tribal districts’ hospitals, he added.

Senator Hedayatullah said the criteria of selecting religious seminaries should have been in proportion to the area and population.

Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman sought the details regarding the doctors who were sent to the polio panel in the next meeting.

At the meeting, a detailed review of the issue of doubling of seats in the National College of Arts for the students belonging to FATA was discussed.

Chairman of the Committee Taj Mohammad Afridi said that it is the duty of every organization to implement the cabinet decision and ensure the doubling of quota.

The committee meeting was held here under the chair of Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi which was attended by Senators including Hilal-ur-Rehman, Hidayat Ullah and Anwar Lal Dean, Additional Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Joint Secretary ministry of SAFRON, Joint Secretary Finance and other officials.

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