38 demands for funds approved by NWFP PA
PESHAWAR: The Frontier Assembly approved 38 demands for grants amounting to Rs 47 billion in its budget for 2003-04 on Wednesday.
The members who presented the cut motions bitterly criticised state departments. However, they withdrew their objections when the concerned ministers assured them these units would soon be streamlined.
Riffat Akbar Swati of the Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) said an effective regulatory authority should be put in place to check the irregularities of the education department. She said the ‘ghost schools and teachers’ gobbled up a large amount, demanding the mafia involved in selling bogus degrees must be uprooted.
Other female MPAs from the Sherpao group were equally critical of the deteriorating education standards in government schools. “It is because of the same phenomenon that bus and rickshaw drivers are opening private schools and fleecing people,” they claimed.
Nighat Yasmeen Orakzai said ‘the education department must mend its ways’. She also criticised the health department, saying hospitals lacked medical equipment to cure patients.
Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA) said the basic health units and district hospitals did not have medicines and other health facilities. He pointed out that the poor rushed to nearby cities for medical treatment, “though it causes them inconvenience”. Ms Swati seconded him. She said there was no regulatory authority to keep a watchful eye on the health department. “That explains why the department’s performance is so poor.”
She said no paramedical training was given to those working in hospitals and “the untrained people become a public nuisance”. Health Minister Inayatullah said there were 15 million hepatitis patients in the country, adding that the health department would launch an anti-hepatitis drive from July 2.
Regarding the controversial issue of ‘institution-based private practice’ (IBP), the minister vowed to present a draft bill in the provincial assembly. He said a regulatory authority was being established to check the performance of medical facilities working in the province. The ministry had sent names of its members to the chief minister and a notification in that regard would be issued as soon as the CM gave his approval.
Abdul Akbar Khan of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) said that 70 percent people earned their living by working with the agriculture sector, though the government had allocated a very small amount for that segment of the economy. The speaker adjourned the session till Thursday.