An overwhelming majority of ministers did not attend the Balochistan provincial assembly session which irked Speaker Aslam Bhootani who had requested the chief minister to ensure their attendance.
It was the second meeting of the first session of the second parliamentary year of the Balochistan Assembly. The 65-member house has 51 ministers including advisers to the chief minister but attendance has always been low.
The session drew criticism on many provincial ministers for consuming the annual budget in less than six months after remaining on “official tour” throughout the year and drawing travel and other allowances for miscellaneous expenses.
The speaker said that there were a number of queries regarding the revenue, education, irrigation and the food departments but the ministers concerned were absent and were unable to respond to the questions raised. However, Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani assured that he will ensure the ministers’ attendance.
Earlier, the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) parliamentary leader Sadiq Umrani raised concerns regarding problems faced by small landowners and farmers. He advised the assembly to review his policy regarding purchasing flour.
“The chief minister should frame a policy which provides relief to small landowners and farmers,” he said.
Responding to questions regarding the inquiry of the Sorange Mine explosions which claimed 43 lives of miners, the minister for mines and minerals informed the House that a judicial inquiry was under way and an initial report had been submitted to the chief minister.
Minister for Gwadar Development Authority Zahoor Buledi raised the issue of incessant power outages in the Makran division, saying that Iran is currently providing just 35 megawatts in contrast to demand which had now risen to 75 megawatts.
“We have been raising this issue for years without any success. I request the chief minister to take up this issue seriously as people are experiencing 10 to 12 hours of power cuts daily,” said Buledi.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2011.
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