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Govt to provide free solar system to poor households in KP

9 min read

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur on Monday announced the provision of free solar systems to families living below the poverty line in the province.

He also said his government would offer subsidised solar systems to lower-middle-class families, with half of the costs to be shared by both.

“Unlike the federal government that doesn’t care about the poor, we have planned a landmark initiative of providing such families with solar systems free of charge,” Mr Gandapur told the provincial assembly during a session chaired by Speaker Babar Saleem Swati here.

The chief minister said as part of its solarisation plans, the government would install solar systems in its offices, buildings, and educational institutions, as well as in water and sanitation service companies.

He rejected the opposition’s criticism of the announcement of the province’s budget ahead of the federal one, saying there were no issues with doing so.

Mr Gandapur said the province’s projected budgetary allocations for the fiscal year 2024–25 won’t see any reduction and instead would go up after the federal government announced its budget.

He said the economic growth rate was 6.2 per cent during the last two years of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government in the centre but it plunged to just one per cent.

The chief minister raised questions about the federal government’s spending amid high inflation.

“We [the KP government] aren’t receiving funds despite the federal government’s commitments. We have reservations about it and will highlight it,” he said.

Mr Gandapur also called for a debate on the Rs2200 billion in annual payments to independent power producers, insisting many IPPs didn’t even produce electricity.

He said the centre had promised massive development funds to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s merged tribal districts after their merger with the province, but a meagre amount was given away for the purpose.

“Out of the promised Rs500 billion, our tribal districts have got just Rs100 billion. People question where the rest of the money has gone,” he said.

The chief minister warned that if the centre didn’t provide Rs100 billion to tribal districts, it should prepare for a “strong reaction.”

He wondered how it was possible to maintain law and order without funds.

Mr Gandapur claimed that the province didn’t even get a single penny from the funds for the fight against terrorism.

He said that the provincial government provided Rs7 billion to strengthen the police, considering the improvement of law and order the biggest challenge.

The chief minister warned that he and his party’s lawmakers wouldn’t relax if the centre denied the province its rights.

“If the federal government cuts higher education funding, the act will be tantamount to laying land mines for itself,” he said.

Mr Gandapur said his party PTI’s leader and former prime minister, Imran Khan, was jailed just because he spoke for the people.

He wondered who would be held responsible for the prolonged detention of Mr Imran after his acquittal in the cipher case.

The chief minister said unfortunately, the people who urged authorities to make the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report on the fall of Dhaka public were being called traitors.

“We have run out of patience,” he said, complaining about the imprisonment of the PTI leader and the denial of the election symbol ‘bat’ to the party.

Mr Gandapur renewed the demand for immediate withdrawal of all cases against Mr Imran for his release.

He said instead of admitting past mistakes and learning from them, authorities were committing more.

The chief minister wondered how many people would be silenced for defiance.

Earlier, lawmakers “condemned” the death of Musa Khan, a student of the University of Malakand, in a road accident after the administration reportedly asked him to leave the premises at night for “playing rabab” in his hostel room.

They demanded the suspension of the university’s vice-chancellor and provost, as well as the doctor of the Hayatabad Medical Complex Peshawar, who refused a bed to the student when he was taken there with serious injuries.

Higher education minister Meena Khan Afridi informed the house that he was dissatisfied with the probe report on the matter and formed another inquiry committee to come up with its findings.

He said the VC and provost could be suspended by the university’s syndicate only.

The speaker asked him to call a meeting of the university’s syndicate for the suspension of the VC and provost over the student’s death.

The house also unanimously passed a resolution demanding regularisation of women teachers of the Elementary and Secondary Education Foundation.

In the resolution, MPA Ikramullah complained that each of the women teachers of the foundation got Rs21,000 every month but had to pay rent and transport charges from that meagre amount.

Meanwhile, finance minister Aftab Alam Afridi presented a report on the biannual monitoring of the implementation of the National Finance Commission Award (July-Dec 2021) in the house.