Drinking water will be the Sindh government’s priority in the upcoming fiscal budget 2011-2012, said adviser to chief minister on planning and development, Kaisar Bengali.
The people who left relief camps had to return to villages with no drinking water, he said while addressing a press conference at the Sindh Secretariat. “We have to make drinking water priority otherwise this will turn into an epidemic.”
Bengali said the right bank of the River Indus was badly damaged during last year’s flood, which could not be completely rehabilitated yet. “The first instalment of a $405 million loan will be given by the Asian Development Bank this month,” he informed the press. The soft loan is being given to strengthen embankments and restore the irrigation network. By the end of this year, around 3,000 villages would be built under the agreement inked with Turkey and Iran. The Sindh government has also made another agreement with USAID to rehabilitate the three worst-affected towns: Qubo Saeed Khan, Garhi Khairo and Khairpur Nathan Shah. About providing livelihood to the flood-hit people, he said that the government had already provided sunflower seed to farmers who had lost their crops.
The government has also decided to allocate Rs105 billion in the budget to build six modern highways with public-private partnership, which will be completed in three years.
He said there was also a plan to establish a motorway linking Badin with Hyderabad city and build two bridges on River Indus, one near Jhirk and the other near Kandhkot. “All [the motorway-road network] will be done by 2020. This will promote trade and investment in the province.”
Basic health facilities
Bengali said that 1,092 basic health centres, previously non-functional, have now been made functional. “Some influential people were using them as godowns and personal autaqs (sitting areas).”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2011.
Correction: May 15, 2011
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this report incorrectly included Garhi Khuda Baksh amongst the three worst-affected towns. The worst affected towns are Qubo Saeed Khan, Garhi Khairo and Khairpur Nathan Shah.