Sindh PA passes Thar coal board bill
KARACHI: Two government bills – the Thar Coal and Energy Board Bill, 2011 and the Zulfikarabad Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011 – were unanimously passed into law after some minor amendments by the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday.
However, the consideration of a third bill pertaining to controlling and regulating the standards of services and amenities for tourists in hotels and restaurants and for matters ancillary thereto or connected therewith was deferred till Thursday by the chair under Rule 29(3) of the assembly`s rules of procedure.
This bill was suggested by Muttahida Qaumi Movement`s Syed Sardar Ahmed and Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Syeda Marvi Rashdi of the PML-Functional and Shazia Marri of the Pakistan People`s Party.
As the bills were taken directly under consideration by dispensing with Rule 84, 85 and 86, the lawmakers were provided an opportunity by the chair to speak their mind during discussion on general principles.
The Thar Coal and Energy Board Bill was tabled by Law Minister Ayaz Soomro and a dozen lawmakers participated in the discussion on its general principles.
Razzaq Rahimoo of the PML-Q said that no representation was given in the board to any elected legislator from the area.
Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of the PML-F questioned as to why a board was being established when the Thar Coal Authority had already been present.
Ms Rashdi said that a petition was pending before the Sindh High Court and the constitution of the board without having a decision would be contempt of court.
Provincial ministers Sherjeel Memon, Rafique Engineer, Mr Ahmad, Ms Marri, Jam Mehtab Dhar, Syed Murad Ali Shah and Mr Soomro termed the bill in the best interest of the province.
They said in order to utilize huge Thar coal reserves for the country`s energy requirements, the Sindh government was striving to develop the coal sector in Sindh to attract domestic and international investment for coal mining and power generation projects for improving the economy of the province as well as the entire country.
They were of the view that the opponents of the bill were actually opposing the interests of Sindh.
A minor amendment – deletion of word “Region” from clause 2(k) – was carried out in the bill before it was passed into law.
The Zulfikarabad Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, which was also tabled by the law minister, was passed unanimously with a minor amendment proposed by Mr Ahmad. The strength of its governing body, after the amendment, had been increased with the nomination of three MPAs. The chief minister was empowered to appoint any member or person as vice chairman or secretary of the governing body.
Responding to the protest lodged by Leader of the Opposition Jam Madad Ali over an unbecoming attitude by some of the treasury members, Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro took notice of “slip of tongue” of Rafique Engineer when he was responding to the criticism of Ms Abbasi on the TCEB bill.
Mr Khuhro said the discussion should not be taken personal.
Jam Madad Ali protested that the house business was being run in a congenial atmosphere for the last three years as the opposition did not indulge in creating rumpus and extending full cooperation, but now it appeared that some members of the treasury benches wanted to spoil this atmosphere of cooperation because of their childish attitude.
Earlier, before taking up the questions-hour, Speaker Khuhro took up a few points of order through which Ms Rashdi drew the attention of the chair towards an inordinate delay to elect the chairman of the Sindh Assembly`s Standing Committee on Rules and Privileges and recorded her protest by staging a token walk-out.
Expressing concern over reports of heavy rains in the coming days, Ms Abbasi asked about the progress on the construction of Kalwar Bund in Khairpur.
Salahuddin of the MQM said that frequent loadshedding by the KESC and Hesco had made citizens` life miserable in this hot and humid weather.
He deplored that the management of the KESC and Hesco were not paying any attention to improve their performance.
Minister Rafique Engineer said that the KESC management, instead of solving the issues of their employees, was “blackmailing the government”.
Khwaja Izhar of the MQM also recorded his protest over the kidnapping, torture and wrongful confinement of a party MPA Aleem-ur-Rehman.
He informed the speaker that so far no action was taken against those nominated in the FIR.
The house, which was called to order at 10.25am, was adjourned for Thursday by the chair at 2.30pm.