KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah directed the chief secretary on Thursday to include pending issues, like the allocation of an additional 1,200 cusecs of water for Karachi, in a letter to the federal government, as the agenda for the upcoming Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting.
The CM while presiding over a meeting on Thursday said that various provincial government issues were pending in the CCI. These include amendment in the petroleum exploration and production policy 2012, unconstitutional and unauthorised deduction from the provincial consolidated fund (PCF) by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), allocation of 1,200 cusecs additional water for Karachi, implementation of Article 154 of the Constitution, matters pertaining to higher education and other similar bodies in post-18th amendment scenario, increased representation of provinces in the federal Higher Education Commission (HEC) and import of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Shah said that he had still not received the agenda of the CCI meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday, September 12, under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Therefore, he directed the chief secretary to send a written request to the CCI secretariat to include all the pending issues of the provincial government on the agenda of the meeting. “Most of the issues are important and require urgent attention. Resolving them immediately is in the supreme interest of people of Sindh,” he said.
The CM said that Karachi was facing an acute shortage of water.
“The current domestic consumption, which stands at 12.75 gallons per capita per day, is anticipated to drop further in the next coming years mainly due to the city’s high population growth,” he said, adding that keeping in view the current demand, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has worked out that an additional 1,200 cusecs of water is needed and thus Sindh should be alotted a total of 2,400 cusecs. He further said that the Irrigation department approached Indus River System Authority (IRSA) twice to allocate additional 1,200 cusecs drinking water for Karachi in addition to the agreed allocation in water accord of 1991.
Irrigation Secretary Jamal Shah informed the meeting that IRSA rejected the request and had replied that any additional requirement of water supply to Karachi had to be met by Sindh’s existing allocated share as no water outside the accord was available for further distribution. On this, Shah said that prior to the 1991 water accord, 1,200 cusecs of water was sanctioned for Karachi on August 10, 1988 by the President. “This 1,200 cusecs water has been included in allocation of Sindh province mentioned at Para-2 of water Accord 1991, but additional requirement of 1,200 cusecs water for the city has not been included in the share of the province,” he said.
The matter of FBR deductions was also discussed extensively.
The FBR had deducted Rs633.119 million in 2012-13, Rs6,127.115 million in 2015-16 and Rs294.5 million in 2016-17. The CM said that a total of Rs7,054.734 million were deducted which was unauthorised and unconstitutional. “This amount belongs to the people of Sindh and should be refunded,” he said, adding that besides taking it up in the CCI meeting, the matter would also be raised with the Ministry of Finance.
The CM directed his team to prepare a case for each and every pending issue so that he could discuss it at the CCI meeting effectively.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Excise and Taxation Mukesh Kumwar Chawla, Minister for Energy Imtiaz Shaikh, Chief Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman, Principal Secretary Sohail Rajput and other secretaries and officials of the provincial government.