Sunday, February 25, 2018

CCI takes up Balochistan’s complaint over water share today

Will also discuss SEZs under CPEC, payment to sugarcane growers and implementation on 18th Amend

February 26, 2018

ISLAMABAD - The Council of Common Interests (CCI) will discuss on Monday (today) Balochistan’s complaint against Sindh for stealing its share of water, Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC, payment to sugarcane growers and implementation on the 18th Amendment.

The 35th meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has been convened here today (Monday). To be presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the CCI will take up 11 issues as agenda items. According to agenda, available with The Nation, the meeting will discuss the matters pertaining to Higher Education and other similar bodies in the post 18th Amendment scenario, import of LNG, endorsement of policy statement on gas sector reforms, implementation on Article 154 of the Constitution of Pakistan, allocation of 1200 cusecs(650.5MGD) additional water to Karachi City(K-IV project),National Water Policy and payment of Net Hydro Profit(NHP) to KP and Punjab. The other agenda items include, sugarcane payments to the growers, development of special economic zones(SEZs) under CPEC, resolution of energy problems of Balochistan province/enhancement of absorption capacity and draft bill for the establishment of National Metrology Institute of Pakistan (NMIP). Similarly, Nepra’s annual reports 2014-15 & 2015-16, senior citizens privileges, short supplies of water in Pat Feeder and Khirther canals and approval of the National Interfaith Harmony Policy is also on the agenda list. The meeting will also review the important decisions of the CCI meeting held on November 24, 2017.

Regarding the supply of 1,200 cusecs extra water to Karachi, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) had already informed the federal government that the Sindh province was already getting its 500 cusec water for Karachi from the Indus River system under the water-sharing accord, however, if the Council of Common Interests (CCI) permits extra water it will have no objection. Sindh is already getting 500 cusecs of water under para 2 of the 1991 water accord for Karachi and the CCI is competent forum to decide about the province’s demand for the increased supply.

Similarly, Balochistan’s summary regarding shortage of its share of water from Pat Feeder and Kirthar Canal is on the agenda of the CCI meeting. Balochistan had earlier lodged a complaint with the IRSA that the Sindh province was denying legitimate share of water to the province and stealing its water from the Pat Feeder Canal.

Last year, the province lodged another complaint regarding stealing of water from Kirthar Canal. Since the IRSA has failed to resolve the disputes between both provinces it was decided to refer the matter to the CCI for resolution. Balochistan is demanding that Sindh is using its share, therefore, it should be asked to provide the cost of its water. In the meeting held in the Ministry of Water and Power, the IRSA took the plea that the CCI was the best forum to resolve the issue.

The implementation of Article 154 is also on the agenda of the CCI as Sindh, KP and Balochistan governments have expressed their reservations over its implementation. After the 18th Constitutional Amendment Act, Article 154 (1) clearly states the functions and rules of procedure of the CCI .

The provinces are of the view that the council should formulate and regulate the policies relating to the matters in Part II of the Federal Legislative List and shall exercise the supervision and control over the related institutions, oil & gas and electricity are under Section 2&4 of the Part II of the Federal Legislative and therefore it comes under CCI domain.

The provinces blame the federal government for making important decisions regarding oil and gas sector through the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet and Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE). After 18th Amendment of Article 154 reads, “The council shall formulate and regulate policies in relation to matters in Part II of the Federal Legislative List and shall exercise supervision and control over related institutions

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