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Senate body for ensuring safety SOPs in all mines

ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Petroleum Friday underlined the need for ensuring complete implementation of safety related Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in all mines operating in the country to avoid occurrence of tragedies taking lives of mine workers.
“There should be strict implementation on the SOPs and those violating the safety rules and measures must be held accountable,” the committee meeting, chaired by Senator Mohsin Aziz, observed.
Reviewing the progress report on the committee’s recommendations it made in a meeting on December 5-6, 2019 in Quetta, the chairman expressed dismay over non-implementation of the body’s suggestions with regard to ensuring safety of coal mine workers to avoid human casualties in future.
Secretary General of Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation, Sultan Muhammad Khan briefed the committee that according to assessment as many as 130 mine workers had died during the last nine months across the country.
Out of 130, he said, 65 had died in Balochistan, 50 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 12 in Punjab and two in Sindh, stressing the need for registration of all mine workers with Employees’ Old-Age Benefit Institution and bringing the compensation amount for mine tragedies’ victims of Balochistan at par with other provinces.
He said Rs 200,000 were given to heirs of each victim as compensation in comparison with Rs 500,000 of other provinces.
Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak was of the view to immediately stop operation of all such mines, which were not implementing the safety SOPs.
He also suggested discouraging sub-letting of the mines’ contracts as it was resulting in poor safety measures and depriving the laborers of their fundamental rights.
The committee decided to call in the Chief Secretary of Balochistan, secretaries Mines and Labour of the province in its next meeting to ensure implementation on the safety SOPs in letter and spirit.
The lawmakers also got a briefing about charging of Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) tariff instead of natural gas tariff from the domestic consumers of the Regi Model Town, Peshawar.
Chairman Mohsin Aziz observed that charging of the RLNG tariff from domestic consumers of the town was unjustified and asked the quarters concerned to revisit their decision.
Taking up the issue of merger/absorption of employees of Lakhra Coal Development Company Limited into state-owned entities of the Petroleum Division, the committee directed all the shareholders to sit together and resolve the issue amicably.
The company, which was not operating since 2017 due to certain reasons, was a joint venture of Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC), Water and Power Development Authority and the Sindh government with 50 percent shares of the corporation and 25 percent each of the two others.
The company management informed the committee that they were not able to pay salaries of 87 employees for the last four months, adding if the government could not absorb them in other public sector departments, they were ready for the golden-handshake.
The committee asked the PMDC Managing Director to coordinate with other shareholders and contribute in resolving the issue as per their share.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Senators Nausman Wazir Khattak, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Shamim Afridi, Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi and Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi, Minister for Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan, Secretary Petroleum Mian Asad Hayaud Din, besides senior officers from the departments concerned.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.