ISLAMABAD, (Parliament Times) :The Senate Standing Committee Meeting on Petroleum was held on Monday at Parliament House. Presided over by Senator Mohsin Aziz; the meeting was attended by Senators Mir Kabir Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, Nauman Wazir Khattak,Lt. General (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Mir Muhammad Yousuf Badini and Shamim Afridi along-with the Minster for Petroleum, and senior officers from the Petroleum Division, Department of Energy Government of Sindh, Labour and Manpower Department, Government of Balochistan along with all concerned.
The meeting commenced with follow-up and further discussion on merger /absorption of employees of Lakhra Coal Development Company (LCDC), Ltd. The Committee was informed that LCDC was established as a joint venture in 1990 among Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC), Government of Sindh and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). The renewal of coal mining lease granted to the company was declined by the Government of Sindh in 2019 and thus the company was deprived of the source of revenue generation. The future of LCDC and its employees was deliberated upon by the Board of Directors of the Company. Since there were no visible business development avenues; employees were served notices and a financial plan for payment of their dues is being worked out. No response has been received from the Government of SIndh despite repeated reminders. The Committee took cognizance of the dire financial burden faced by the employees of LCCDC and deliberated on two proposals to facilitate the employees; namely payment of the outstanding dues to the employees by PMDC, WAPDA and Government of Sindh with respect to their shareholding or the proposal of lease agreement drawn in favour of PMDC. The Committee directed LCCDC to share audited figures of outstanding liabilities with the Government of Sindh within three days after which the Committee would reconvene within next 15 days to take a final decision on the matter.
While being briefed on the current situation of pending issue between Federal and Sindh Governments for laying 17 Km gas pipeline of imported gas; the Committee was informed that that Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) has laid the subject pipeline in all respect including modification of CTS Bin Qasim and SMS Pakland, Pipeline was commissioned on 22 December, 2020. The Committee took up the issue of the supply of gas to Sui residents and directed the Ministry to write to PPL regarding this and submit a compliance report.
Discussing the progress of exploration of Kohlu block, the Committee was informed that last extension was granted w.e.f 01 January, 2020 for a period of two years; in order to enable the company to discharge its minimum work obligations which have been pending since a long time due to the volatile law and order situation in the area. OGDCL has reported that as an operator of the block it has been continuously pursuing the concerned authorities for provision of security clearance cover for immediate commencement of exploration activities in the area. The Committee directed that all out efforts must be made to ensure that work commences at the earliest and that a monthly progress report must be submitted to the Committee.
While being briefed on actions taken by the Petroleum Division on the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum held on 21st May, 2019 to curb the smuggling of POL Products and the action taken by the Petroleum Division in the light of the directives of the Prime Minister; the Committee was informed that following the directives issued by the Prime Minister against fuel smuggling and illegal fuel distribution in the country; National Taskforce has been constituted with the Chief Minister and Home Secretary as conveners. The Committee was further informed that smuggled Iranian diesel fulfills 19.5 per cent of total demand. The Committee was also informed that a strategy has been developed by FBR, where in first stage; illegal retail outlets that are prime beneficiaries of the smuggled fuel in the three provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be sealed. As per devised strategy, in the second phase the situation in Balochistan would be addressed. The Committee was of the view that the government must provide alternate source of livelihood to those who are affected by this measure in Balochistan.
Discussing implementation status of recommendations of the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum held on 5th and 6th December, 2019 regarding measures taken thereof to improve the safety standards of mines; it was asserted that standards must be defined to formulate a system. The Committee directed Mine and Mineral Development Department Balochistan that in order to protect lives all ‘C’ category mine, which are the riskiest, must be upgraded to category ‘B’ or be shut down. The Committee reiterated the need for increasing registration of labour. The Committee directed the Mine and Mineral Development Department Balochistan to notify PKR 500,000 the already agreed upon amount as part of compensation package to be paid by employer immediately.