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About half of complaints lodged with ombudsman last year were against Discos

About half of complaints lodged with ombudsman last year were against Discos

ISLAMABAD: About half of 60,000 complaints lodged with the Federal Ombudsman in 2015 were against power distribution companies (Discos).

This was stated in a report submitted by Federal Ombudsman Salman Faruqui to President Mamnoon Hussain here on Tuesday.

According to the report, of the 28,000 complaints filed against power distribution companies, 25,000 were against over-billing and unjustified penalties in electricity bills.

As many as 4,668 complaints were filed last year against the National Database and Registration Authority, while 4,500 were against the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd and Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd.

During the past three years, the Federal Ombudsman decided 227,000 complaints.

Talking to newsmen after presenting the report, Mr Faruqui said when he assumed office in 2013 as Federal Ombudsman 75,000 complaints were pending and there was no timeframe for deciding them.

“In view of the situation I submitted a proposal for standardisation of statutes and early disposal of complaints, which was passed by parliament. Now it has become mandatory to decide every complaint within 60 days.

“Further acceleration in disposal of complaints was made in 2015, after which the complaints are decided in 45 days,” he said.

The Wafaqi Mohtasib said that under a pilot project of Swift Complaint Resolution, complaints were being redressed within 15 days at complainant’s doorsteps.

He said designated investigating officers visited 36 districts to hear complaints periodically and disposed them of in record time of 15 days.

“The pilot project will be extended to tehsil level in due course to provide relief to maximum number of citizens living in far-flung areas. The initiative occupied central place in the complaint disposal strategy of the Mohtasib Office.” Mr Faruqui said the quantum jump in disposal of cases was due to hard work of investigating officers and now not a single complaint was pending which was more than 45 days old.

He said appeals could be filed before the President of Pakistan against Ombudsman’s decisions, but only 0.37 per cent people had lodged them and out of which the president upheld 90pc of Mohtasib’s decisions.

The ombudsman said a committee was constituted to look into the condition of prisons with particular reference to women and children in major jails. Members of the committee visited different jails and formulated recommendations after which steps were taken to provide facilities to inmates, particularly women and children.

Mr Faruqui said he had appointed grievance commissioners for those departments / agencies where number of complaints was on a higher side. Grievance commissioners were appointed for children, overseas Pakistanis, pensioners and civic bodies.

He said grievance commissioners had also been appointed for Fata for resolving common man’s grievances against federal agencies. An informal forum for resolution of problems faced by people of the area had been made available for the first time in history of the country.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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