KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet has decided to hand over the recently-constructed blood banks in Sukkur, Jamshoro, Shaheed Benazirabad and Karachi to private organisations under the Public-Private Partnership model.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the Sindh cabinet, where health minister Dr Azra Pechuho briefed the participants about the Regional Blood Centres that have been set up with assistance from the German Development Bank. Dr Pechuho reasoned that the health department had no prior experience of managing such sophisticated centres and that they be contracted out to private entities.
Blood banks not a business, stress panelists
The cabinet approved to hand over RBC Jamshoro to Indus Hospital, RBC Sukkur to Sukkur Blood and Drug Donating Society, RBC Shaheed Benazirabad to Fatmid Foundation and RBC Karachi to Ziauddin Hospital.
During the meeting, the secretary of the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Syed Jamal Shah, gave a presentation and said that they had prepared an action plan in light of recent Supreme Court judgments. "Our plan calls for transferring all the functions relating to water and sewerage, including installation, operation and management of RO plants to the PHED," he said.
Subsequently, the cabinet approved the transfer of all staff of the local government to the PHED. As per the plan, 1,572 schemes would be operated and the salaries of staff is estimated at Rs642 million. The cabinet approved the plan and directed the chief secretary to implement it. The cabinet also approved Rs500 million for the transaction and placed the amount at the disposal of the PHED secretary.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah approved a poverty reduction strategy to be implemented at a cost of Rs72.5 billion. Under the scheme, interventions would be made in education, health, water and sanitation and development of internal village roads.
The CM was presiding over the cabinet meeting held at the New Sindh Secretariat. The meeting was attended by all the provincial ministers, advisers and special assistants.
Safe blood programme enters phase II
The Planning and Development Department, with the assistance of the European Union, prepared a poverty reduction strategy based on a two-year study. The programme would aim to reduce rural and urban poverty levels by making necessary interventions and upgrading infrastructure in villages.
These include constructing roads in villages, besides provision of water supply and drainage schemes, health facilities, vocational training and a holistic approach to improve the quality of education.
The chief minister said that the programme would be implemented across Sindh over the next five years. This would be an addition to the already-launched poverty reduction prorammes and initiatives.
Forest and Wildlife Department Additional Chief Secretary Sohail Akbar Shah presented a restructuring plan of his department, which was subsequently approved by the cabinet.
As per the plan, two posts of Chief Conservators of Forests (CCF), Grade BPS-20, have been created for mangroves and social forestry.
"One officer will look after mangroves and the other, the social forestry wing. These officers will look after the mangroves' ecosystem and development projects of the department, especially the Green Pakistan programme," said Sohail Akbar Shah.
Four positions of conservators of forest (CF) of grade BPS-19 have also been created to adequately help the chief conservators.
In his briefing, Shah said that Sindh's productive forests, which include riverine and irrigated plantation, are spread over an area of 0.8 million acres. Similarly, protective forests, including mangroves and rangelands, cover an area of 2.5 million acres. Cumulatively, the forests constitute 8% of the total land area of the province. "Therefore, restructuring of the department was vital to look after these forests and improve them further," the secretary said.
Fake number plates
Sindh Chief Minister, taking serious notice of the use of government number plates on private vehicles, ordered to start a campaign against the culprits. He said that he had seen people using fake government number plates on their private vehicles, unregistered vehicles and vehicles taken from Nazarat. He ordered Excise Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla to launch a special campaign against the violators and present a report to him.
The Women Development department presented a bill titled, "Sindh Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2018". The meeting was briefed by Women Development Secretary Baqaullah Unar, who said that the bill aimed to make provisions for the protection against harassment of women at the workplace and address their issues through a legal framework. The cabinet approved the bill and directed law adviser, Murtaza Wahab, to vet its clauses and send it to the assembly for approval.
The Sindh Cabinet, on the recommendation of Chief Justice of Sindh High Court approved the appointment of Mr Munir Ahmed Khawaja, a retired District and Sessions Judge, as judge of Anti-Terrorism Court, Shaheed Benazirabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2018.