JACOBABAD: Sindh Chief Minster Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Saturday finally gave in. He announced that a local government system would be introduced in the province with consultation of all coalition partners, once the Supreme Court passes a ruling on the matter.
“The matter is currently in Supreme Court. We are waiting for the decision of the court after which will be able to make a law on it,” the Chief Minister said, hinting at the strong possibility that the Peoples Party led government, which has tried to scrap the system of governance institutionalised by General Pervez Musharraf, could bring it back.
While briefing the media after presiding over cabinet meeting with ministers, notables, traders, officers and party office bearers of Jacobabad district, Shah said that this is the first time in history of Sindh that the Cabinet chose to meet in any district headquarter.
He said that this meeting was held on the special directives of the President Asif Ali Zardari to resolve the problems and issues of downtrodden and poor people of this remote district.
Sindh, of which Shah is the elected Chief Minister, had suffered losses worth billions of ruppees during two subsequent years of floods. Jacobabad, which is divided into 16 districts, hosting a population of seven million people was one of the worst affected towns.
Shah said that the Sindh government, with the help from the federal government has released the first instalment of Watan Card payments among 0.7 million affected people, but he complained that they still awaited a tranche of Rs5 billion from the federal government to pay out the remaining dues.
The CM said that the process for the second instalment of Rs40,000 for the Watan Cards is underway and 2,46,000people will receive Watan Cards according to surveys. He said that for releasing Watan Cards, a reassessment survey has been ordered in Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Kandkot Kashmore districts to enlist the deserving flood effected people. The matter will also be brought before the Council of Common Interest (CCI).
Water for everyone
Shah said that there were many complaints of shortage of water and few days ago Sindh faced 50 to 70 per cent shortage of water due to unpredictable weather with ice melting slowly. Regardless, he promised that water will be provided to all the cultivators located at the tail of BS feeder and Begari canal with in four days. He added that for the judicious distribution of water, police and Rangers have been directed to look after the regulators and channels.
CM Sindh further added that small canals in the districts of Jacobabad, Thul and Soan Waah will be lined.
He said that construction for a road will also be started along the right bank of the Begari canal, which runs 78 miles in length.
He added said that small growers of Jacobabad will be provided loans without interest for cultivation through the Sindh Bank, a branch of which will be soon opened in Jacobabad.
On the law and order situation in the distric and crimes against the local Hindu community, Shah said a law will soon be passed in the Sindh assembly which protects the community. He also directed new SSP Mohammad Younis Chandio to ensure the law and order situation in Jacobabad.
Repeating the decision of President Asif Ali Zardari, he said a cadet college will soon be established in Jacobabad. A new college will also be constructed in Ghari Khairo.
The Sindh government on Saturday announced a slew of development and rehabilitation projects in Jacobabad.
Development and rehabilitation packages for Jacobabad district worth Rs5 billion were approved along with Rs50million for up gradation of the civil hospital Jacobabad. Meanwhile, 38 reverse osmosis plants and a project to build 78 miles of road along the Begari Canal was also announced at cabinet meeting held at the office of deputy commissioner Jacobabad on Saturday.
The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and attended by some cabinet ministers belonging to PPP, along with chief secretary Sindh and secretaries’ of Irrigation, Works and Services, Planning and Development department. Interestingly, the meeting was also attended by Federal Minister Mir Hazar khan Bijarani.
Talking to The Express Tribune Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that development issues, irrigation and drinking water schemes, health, education and law and order situation came under discussion at the meeting. He said that all district level bureaucrats briefed the meeting about the problems and issues relating to Watan Card.
He said that CM has also announced a grant of nine motorbikes for the Jacobabad police for patrolling in the city area. “The district level meeting is aimed at focusing on development and other schemes of the district only. It has been decided that a few ministers and officials are invited at the meeting,” he said, adding that the next meeting will be held in Kashmore on July 14.
Memon further said that the meeting also sought to address the issue of Pakistan Cards and arrangement made by irrigation officials in the wake of heavy monsoon rains predicted.
The chief minister directed all relevant officials to meet their targets.
Committee formed to probe sake of government jobs
Chief Minister while taking notice of allegations by some Peoples Party office bearers that job quotas were being sold off, formed a committee under supervision of Sindh local minister Agha Siraj Durrani to probe into the matter.
Official sources said that during the meeting of Chief Minister and cabinet members, some office bearers of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party alleged that the district general secretary of the party Abdul Sattar Brohi was selling the party’s job quota through brokers.
Among those form the provincial cabinet included Minister of Local Government Agha Siraj Durrani, Provincial Minister Information Sharjeel Inam Memon, Revenue Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar, Law and Jails Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Excise Minister Mukesh Chawla, Housing and Anti-narcotics Minister Taimour Khan Pathan, Irrigation Minister Jam Saifulah Dharejo, Rehabilitation Minister Haji Muzafar Shujra, MPAs of Jacobabad Ayesha Khoso, Ghulam Muhammad Shelayani, and information secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez and other secretaries of different provincial departments.
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