Chief secretary assures court of filing quarterly reports

SHC questions where Rs300m fund earmarked for Manchar Lake cleaning was spent

Our Correspondent April 19, 2024
The Sindh High Court building. PHOTO: FILE


Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Asif Hyder Shah on Thursday assured the Sindh High Court that the provincial government would submit quarterly report on progress on implementation on the Water Commission's recommendations for water supply and drainage projects.

Shah appeared before a division bench in Hyderabad Circuit on a petition regarding the supply of clean drinking water and sewage projects in Dadu district, filed by Gulzar Almani Advocate.

The bench asked the chief secretary to explain where the Rs300 million fund, earmarked for cleaning Manchar Lake, has been spent as the lake's water is still highly toxic?

The court also questioned why the hill torrents from Balochistan during 2022 monsoon rains were not efficiently used to clean the lake water of which was diverted to deluge towns and villages in Dadu instead of being channeled towards River Indus?

According to the CS, in all around 2,500 reverse osmosis plants were to be made functional in the province and among those 140 have been activated on the court's March 22 order.

Talking to the media after the hearing Shah mentioned that he has submitted the progress report in the court about implementation on the water commission proposed projects.

He added that the commission had recommended 60 short and long-term projects. "The government has been able to complete about 60 per cent of work on the short-term projects." He said, he informed the court that the provincial government would submit periodic report every three months.

"The courts have their queries while the government departments work in their ways. The guidelines keep coming from courts but due to resource constraints of the irrigation department the projects can't be completed timely."

According to him, some schemes are less and others are highly capital intensive and for such projects the government has to arrange funds from local and foreign financial institutions. "Because of this it's difficult to meet the deadline."

The CS later chaired a meeting at Shahbaz Building regarding restoration and beautification of the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (RA) and completion of the dual carriageway road from Jamshoro to Sehwan. He observed that the devotees visiting the shrine face a lot of difficulties because of narrow roads which are mostly occupied by encroachers.

He directed the officials to widen the road from Sehwan bypass to the shrine and construct wider footpaths for pedestrians. He also asked them to renovate the parking lot and bus stand besides addressing the drainage problem by initiating new schemes.

Commenting on the widening of Jamshoro-Sehwan stretch of the Indus Highway, the chief secretary blamed the National Highway Authority (NHA) for inordinately delaying the completion of the project. He said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has taken up the matter with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

He lamented that due to the poor road conditions a large number of accidents occur on the Indus Highway's portion between those two towns. He apprised that during the last five years 115 people have lost their lives and 317 injured in accidents on that highway.

The DIG National Highway and Motorway Police Muhammad Saleem informed the meeting that there are 10 sharp curves on the highway where 90 per cent of accidents take place

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2024.


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