Flood damages caused Rs 44.5 billion losses: NA told

imagesISLAMABAD – The National Assembly was informed on Wednesday that the government has prepared a strategy to bring PIA on the path of profitable operations. The House was also informed that the estimated financial impact of damages caused by floods this year was over forty four point five billion rupees. These include over forty one point billion rupees in Punjab, over two point eight billion rupees in Azad Kashmir and 508 million rupees in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Replying to different queries during question hour, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said a revival plan has been prepared which will help transform the national carrier into a dynamic and vibrant institution. It will ensure cost cutting measures, increase in revenue, airworthiness of aircrafts and meet customers’ expectations.

The Minister of State said PIA Board of Directors has decided to retire seven of its old aircrafts.

Responding to a question Minister of State for Education and Professional Training Engineer Baligh-ur-Rehman said over fifteen million children are out of school. He said different strategies are being adopted to promote literacy. These include focus on enrolment of out of school children in existing primary schools with underutilized capacity. Children above the age of seven will be enrolled in non formal basic education, feeder schools or madrassas. Additional class rooms and teachers will be provided in the existing public formal schools to accommodate new students.

He said in far flung areas, new two rooms formal and one room non formal schools will be constructed to improve access of students to education.

He said the strategy also envisages incentives to retain students particularly girls and those from disadvantaged groups who drop out before completing primary school due to financial constraints.

To a question he said abolishment of evening shift in Islamabad Model Colleges is underway in phases.

Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha told the House that government advertisements worth over 505 million rupees were released to the electronic media since first of July last year.

To a supplementary he said in the past there was no criteria for release of ads to the electronic media but the present government is evolving a criteria for the purpose.

He informed the house that the government is considering to provide insurance cover to the working journalists.

Responding to yet another question he said Radio Pakistan is broadcasting weather forecast in its national, regional and local city service programmes from PBC Chitral, Peshawar, Skardu and Gilgit on daily basis.

He said apart from this a national hookup feature programme titled “Safar Bakhair” is being launched to guide the travellers to and from Chitral, Gilgit, Skardu and other northern areas regarding weather, roads and air traffic situation.

INP/AH/SB

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