K-P may form commission to probe environmental impacts
PESHAWAR: The provincial government has hinted at creating a joint commission which will probe the air pollution allegedly caused owing to the rising number of oil and gas fields in Kohat division.
This was suggested by Adviser to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister (CM) on Energy and Power Development Himayatullah Khan during a visit to inspect different oil and gas fields in the division including in Dhoke Hussain, Noshaba and Makri. The commission, Himayatullah said, would investigate ways and means to control rising air pollution and devise a comprehensive strategy in this regard.
He directed the companies to take appropriate, positive and solid measures to keep the environment clean to safeguard valuable lives in the division, adding that companies could plant more trees under their corporate social responsibilities to keep the environment clean.
Member National Assembly (MNA) Shahid Khattak, MPAs Nisar Gul Kakakhel, Zahoor Shakir, and Shah Faisal stated how the local infrastructure, including roads of the division, had been damaged owing to the presence of the oil and gas companies.
They further complained that the oil and gas royalties provided to locals is quite low and it should be increased so that the living standard of the people could be improved.
Energy and Power Department secretary stated that land for the oil and gas fields had been purchased on nominal rates through the old land lease agreement. However, he said that these agreements will be revised soon after the relevant legislation is passed by the K-P Assembly.
Himayatullah assured that an audit will be conducted through a third party so that the good work done is appreciated apart from encouraging those working for the welfare of the people of the area.
Moreover, he directed the relevant oil and gas companies to revise their plans and provide much-needed employment to residents of the area.
He also directed them to announce scholarships for local students apart from creating sporting and other entertainment opportunities for the youth of the area.
The adviser also visited the control room of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) where he was told that the Noshaba oil and gas fields produce some 18,400 barrels oil and 86 Million Cubic Feet per Day (MMCFD) of gas along with 300 metric tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) on a daily basis.
He also directed the concerned quarters to computerise all processes so that actual production could be gauged.
Locals had filed a petition before the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in which they sought an order for the formation of a joint investigation team to probe the theft of crude oil worth Rs142 billion from the oil and gas fields of Karak.
A counsel for the petitioners had told the bench that the petition had been filed in the interest of the public at large and thus it should be heard by a division bench of the high court. In the petition, the residents requested the court to declare that the people of Karak, Kohat and Hangu, whose properties and lands were damage and faced health hazards and environmental degradation, were entitled to compensation from the provincial and federal governments.