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SC wants report on use of social welfare cash

Expres­ses dissat­isfact­ion over expend­iture of social welfar­e fund in Sindh



ISLAMABAD: The top court has sought detailed reports from all provincial governments regarding the use of 109 million dollars, recovered from the oil and gas companies to ensure social welfare obligations in their areas of operation.

The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Wednesday resumed hearing of a suo motu case regarding the social welfare obligations of the oil and gas companies.

The application was moved in the apex court on behalf of Tando Adam Tehsil Bar Association President Abdul Hakeem Khos. The petitioner had pointed out that oil and gas companies in district Sanghar were spreading pollution and not focusing on providing infrastructure, jobs and gas to the local population.

On December 27, 2013, the top court directed the director general petroleum concessions (DGPC) and provincial governments to ensure monitoring of the oil and gas companies’ social welfare operations.

Later on, former CJP Jawwad S Khawaja initiated the proceedings regarding the implementation of court’s December 27, 2013 order on the same subject.

The bench, while referring the court’s August 26 order, asked all the provinces to submit final report on the projects so that matter could be disposed of.

The bench was told that the Sindh government has received Rs4.8 billion, of which Rs2.9 billion has been spent so far. The bench, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the expenditure of social welfare fund in the province.

It was told that in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) a sum of Rs1.2 billion had been received while in Punjab a total of Rs437 million had been received by way of production bonus and social welfare obligations.

On the last date of hearing, the DGPC told the court that $3,400,000 were lying with the Balochistan government and were not spent on social welfare. However, the court had noted in its last order that one of the reasons for this was that there were no local governments in place in the three provinces except for Balochistan.

During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti told the bench that a meeting was held on October 7 between the representatives of Balochistan and federal governments regarding the extension of a natural gas mining lease.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015.

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