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BoI, PASDEC for inclusion of marble centres in CPEC

BoI, PASDEC for inclusion of marble centres in CPEC

ISLAMABAD: Board of Investment (BoI) and Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) are jointly working to include Pakistan’s marble centres of KPK, Fata and Balochistan in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This was stated by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) PASDEC, Zahid Maqsood Sheikh at a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production held under the chairmanship of Senator Hidayatullah on Thursday.

“I wrote letters to BoI and held meetings to expedite inclusion of marble centres in the CPEC which are along its route. We will get good news very soon,” he added.

Most of the senators were of the view that details of CPEC have not been shared with them. On this, Senator Taj Haider said that the CPEC route is so secret that he as chairman of the CPEC committee is unaware of the route.

In reply to a question raised by the senators, Zahid Maqsood Sheikh said that the company has not been given funds for the last three years but even then it is performing from its own resources.

The committee, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the company, saying that machinery has been given to dubious companies.

The committee was of the view that PASDEC was directed to use modern machinery to save valuable stones from destruction but its directives were not implemented. The committee chairman further stated that it was clearly directed that only mine owners should be given machinery who have lease agreement but machinery was provided to those who do not have active lease agreements.

“On what basis five out of 15 companies were selected,” questioned the chairman of the committee.

The CEO PASDEC acknowledged that at least two companies did not deserve permission, promising that he would look into the matter.

The chairman committee said that he has personally visited 10 out of 15 companies, adding that situation is not good. He was of the view if the companies fled the site, how recoveries will be made possible.

Senator Taj Haider was of the view that investment has been made by PASDEC and profit should also be shared with it. The CEO acknowledged that arrangement has not been made to supply electricity to Risalpur Marble City.

Senator Taj Haider proposed that a special cell should be established in public and private banks for fiscal support to marble industry.

The committee chairman suggested for paying heed to promote precious stone industry in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) for earning foreign exchange and create employment opportunities there. To change the lives of the citizens and create economic prosperity, there is a need to focus on production of PASDEC.

Senator Khanzada Khan asked for briefing about the age of machinery and production through mechanised system. The committee was informed that precious stones can be saved from wasting. By utilising an amount of Rs 60 million to Rs 70 million, good results can be produced.

Regarding delay in provision of facilities to Marble City of Risalpur, the chairman committee said they are asking for provision of electricity for one-and-a-half-year and asked for complying with these directions forthwith. The general manager PESCO asked for depositing Rs 1.7 million for setting up of railway line crossings, adding there is a need of no objection certificate (NOC) from the army and the railways authorities in this regard.

The chairman PASDEC said that they have paid PESCO for two megawatt electricity and are ready for paying to Railways as well. While chairman committee said whether they should conclude that the people are being troubled only for Rs 1.7 million.

Senator Taj Haider offered to facilitate payment if Pesco provides electricity. On which PASDEC authorities assured for payment.

The GM PESCO said they are ready to install connections up to June 15.

Regarding details on persons sent abroad by NPO for kitchen garden training, the committee was told that 42 persons from federation, 26 from Punjab, 7 from Sindh, 10 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one person was sent fro Balochistan. While the chairman committee expressed displeasure for not sending any representative from FATA. The committee asked the NPO authorities to provide details in the next meeting in this regard.

The officials of explosive department briefed the committee about the performance of the department as well as its rules and regulations. During 2015-16, more than 1,100 explosive licences were issued.

Regarding issuance of licences to petrol pumps, it was told to the committee that there are only six personnel for checking these pumps and they are working with limited resources. The chairman committee endorsed this viewpoint and said the committee will give recommendations to increase the number of personnel in this regard.

Senators Kalsoom Perveen, Khalida Zia, Malik Najamul Hassan, Taj Haider and Khanzada Khan, and other officials concerned attended the meeting.—MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN

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