Sindh to procure 250 hybrid buses

Cabinet expresses reservations over Centre amending alternative energy policy

Our Correspondent September 24, 2021


Sindh Minister for Transport Awais Qadir Shah told the provincial cabinet on Thursday that the chief minister has allocated Rs8 billion in 2020-21 and Rs6.4 billion in 2021-22 for procurement of 250 diesel hybrid electric buses.

The buses will run under the Sindh Intra-district Peoples Bus Service project for Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad, he said days after 40 busses from China landed at the Karachi port under the federal government’s Green Line Bust Rapid Transport project.

The cabinet approved to award the project to National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) to procure the buses by December 2021 and invest Rs3 billion on the development of infrastructures such as the establishment of depots and bus stops and operate the buses.

Renewable energy

The provincial cabinet expressed reservations on the decision of the federal cabinet which has unilaterally amended Alternative and Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy 2019 approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) and excluded several Sindh government cheap alternative energy projects and included costly hydro-power projects.

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“We will refer the matter to the joint session of the parliament,” said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while presiding over the cabinet meeting at CM House on Thursday.

“The federal cabinet or cabinet committee on energy is not competent to amend any policy approved by the CCI, therefore we would refer the matter to the joint parliament for discussion as we have already referred to the matter of Census,” he said.

ARE Policy 2019 covers technologies such as biogas, biomass, energy from waste, geothermal, hydrogen, synthetic gas, ocean/tidal wave energy, solar, storage technologies, wind and hybrid of all these technologies, he elaborated.

Subsidy to farmers

Advisor to CM on Agriculture Manzoor Wassan told the cabinet that the federal government has approved subsidies to the farmers during Kharif crop 2021. He added that the subsidy on DAP fertilisers for rice and cotton would be given at the rate of Rs1,500 per acre in which the federal government would share 75 per cent or Rs2.7 billion and the provincial government would share 25 per cent or Rs902 million.

Similarly, subsidy on cotton and rice seed would be given at Rs.12,00 per acre and subsidy for white fly control would be Rs12,00 per acre.

Wheat releases

Food Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla told the cabinet that 33,917 tonnes of the wheat was lying in warehouses of Naushehroferoze and Kashmore. The officers concerned had stored the grain without approval of the department.

Therefore, NAB has sealed the warehouses and is not allowing lifting of the wheat, Chawla said explaining that if the wheat was not lifted the grain would be infested with weevil. The cabinet authorised the minister of food to talk to the NAB and get the grain released.

MOU for KMC taxes

The cabinet on the request of the local government allowed the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to sign an MOU with the K-Electric for collection of conservancy and fire taxes through electricity bills. Administrator KMC Murtaza Wahab briefed the cabinet about the proposed collection of the taxes and said their rates would be reduced so that minimum burden could be imposed on the citizens. He added that his objective was to strengthen the KMC financially.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2021.


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