ISLAMABAD: Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas on Thursday recommended that the government should establish more industrial units to provide equal jobs opportunities to the residents of underprivileged areas.
The committee met at the parliament house with Senator Muhammad Usman Kakar in chair. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Industries and Production, Abdul Razaq Dawood and senior officials of the ministry of industries also attended the meeting.
Speaking on this occasion, the advisor said less development areas would be compensated, adding that present government was giving top priority to the progress and prosperity of all the underprivileged areas.
The minister said Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) had started ‘one skill one village programme’ to offer domestic skills and opportunities to the locals and the government would assist the residents of the respective areas in trade and marketing sector.
The committee suggested setting up a chromite plant in Muslimabad area of Balochistan and coal-treatment plant in Lorarlai and Harnai.
The committee said that handicraft stalls should be established at every airport, five-star hotels and motorways to generate revenue and create employment opportunities.
The committee also recommended that the government should announce special financial package for the less developed areas in the next budget. It also advised for the plantation of maximum number of fruit-bearing trees in the less developed areas.
Committee Chairman Usman Kakar recommended that the government should initiate more projects in the less developed areas of the country.
The chairman noted that seventy per cent of the industries in Pakistan were situated in the far-flung areas. Every government talked about bringing change there but no practical steps were taken to date.
Senator Fida Muhammad lamented that old industries in Malakand were being sealed while the government was planning to establish industries in the rural areas. These industries were being closed on the ground that their environmental assessment had not been done.
He complained that a small industrial estate was being set up in Dargai where the price for one kanal of land was set at Rs5 million which was a case of simple injustice.
The advisor for industries and production said that he was not aware of the matter and would take up both the issues with the chief secretary. Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) CEO briefed the session on the projects undertaken in less developed areas with particular reference to small businesses and industries.
Aik Hunar Aik Nagar (AHAN) CEO said that his organization was lacking in donors. He said that 33 donor agencies had left the country while bank accounts of AHAN were frozen because of its association with Save the Children.
The committee chairman vowed to extend all possible support to AHAN to overcome its financial woes. He said he would also recommend for allocation of funds in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) so that maximum people could benefit.