Senate Standing Committee takes notice of non-provision of water in various sectors

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The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat in its meeting took strong notice of non-provision of water in various sectors of Islamabad and the incoherence in different replies by the concerning officials of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Cabinet Administration and Development Division (CADD).

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Talha Mehmood here at the parliament house on Tuesday.

The meeting was to have a detailed briefing on the sector-wise allocation of quota for the provision of water supply and the shortage of water to all sectors including D-12. It was stated in the briefing that rain water was the only source of water supply in different sectors of Islamabad for which Simli dam was the main reservoir.

The officials from CDA and CADD could not give convincing replies to questions regarding demand and supply, reasons for the gap, capacity and condition of reservoirs and any concrete measures taken by CDA to tackle the issue of water scarcity. The committee directed both bodies to come up with proper answers to all questions in the next meeting scheduled to be held on 23rd May.

The committee after hearing the opinion of ministry of law and CADD, disposed of the bill titled, ‘Right to free and compulsory education (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ moved by Senator Mian Atteeq Sheikh. The meeting was told that in another meeting with the officials of CADD, the mover had agreed on soliciting the opinion of law division on the bill and had said that he would second whatever proposal came up by the law division. The law division and ministry of CADD opposed the bill.

Regarding the public petition pertaining to the exploitation of parents and students by private schools and use of drugs in public/private educational institutions, the committee was given a briefing by Chairman Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PIERA).

A report prepared by anti-narcotics wing of ministry of interior was shared with the committee naming eight institutions of Islamabad where drug use was hinted. However, it wasn’t clear whether there was any evidence of drug being openly sold within or outside the premises of these education institutions. Chairman Committee Senator Talha Mehmood observed that there was a need for a stronger system of checks and balances after such rumours, but there seemed to be no such measure. Islamabad Police briefed the committee that in the last four months, 315 people had been arrested in connection with drug use out of which 23 people were related to drug use in education institutions.

The committee also heard the president of federation of employees’ cooperative housing society E-11, who told the meeting that the society which was registered in 1982 was now declared illegal by CDA after cancellation of its layout plan. The layout plan was approved previously but was cancelled unilaterally by CDA. The committee recommended that the status of society should be restored to what it was in 2015 and the 26 canal land of the society under the possession of some other society should also be given to them. The matter would be taken up again in the next meeting.

While discussing the question of Senator Azam Swati regarding violation of by-laws by shopping malls and hotels in Islamabad, Chairman Committee Senator Talha Mehmood noted that anything which was against the law and which resulted in the suffering of people due to violations should be dealt with in a way which sets an example for future.

The mover pointed out that the Centaurus mall had violated the by-laws by using the space fixed for parking area as a departmental store and by not building the fourth tower which was to be a hotel and was the major part of the project.

CDA told the meeting that the departmental store has been sealed and that the management was communicated that they would have to build the fourth tower and one of the existing three towers could not be used as a hotel.

Regarding the construction of additional floors in Safa Gold Mall, CDA told the meeting that they would be charged with the violation fines and the charges would be shared with the committee in the next meeting.

The committee would also be told in the next meeting that why the violators of by-laws in the case f Grand Hayat had been arrested so far.

The meeting was attended by Senators Islamuddin Shaikh, Azam Swati, Kamil Ali Agha, Yousaf Badini, NajmaHameed, Kalsoom Parveen and Haji Saifullah Bangash.