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Center unleashed policy of crushing Sindh, its people, says CM Murad

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday said that the federal government in terms of water and power had unleashed a policy of crushing Sindh and its people as a political agenda.

“There are three serious issues in which the ruling government has started penalising people of Sindh,” he said while addressing a crowded press conference at his Sindh Assembly Chamber.

Pointing out the issues, he said there were prolonged load-shedding and water shortag during Rabi and short release of federal transfers of funds, as a result, not only day-to-day life has been affected badly but agro-industrial economy was crippling.

Talking about prolonged load-shedding, the chief minister said that he had written two letters to the prime minister and talked to him on telephone for at least six times to draw his attention towards the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and K-Electric (KE) dispute which has turned into over 12- hour prolonged load-shedding in the city.

“The industrialists are being forced to shut down their industrial units,” he said.

Murad Ali Shah said that when the prime minister told him that he had called both the entities — SSGC and KE — he heaved sigh of relief believing that the matter would be solved but the prime minister instead of personally listening and directing both the parties he deputed his advisor on finance Miftah Ismail to settle the dispute.

Read more: Sindh CM holds center responsible for deadlock between farmers, sugar millers

He said when he called Miftah Ismail on his cell phone it was playing a message that he was out of the country.

Murad Ali Shah said that SSGC claimed that its Rs29 billion outstanding bills were due on KE. Therefore, it [SSGC] had reduced gas supply to KE from 276 Mmcfd to 90 mmcfd, as a result four gas-based power plants had stopped generating electricity causing more than 12 hour load-shedding.

He said that when the SSGC claimed of Rs29 bn outstanding dues it was audited and it turned to be Rs13 billion principal amount and the remaining amount was late payment and interest. He said that the KE was ready to clear the old amount in installments with full current payment of the gas. Now, the court had also directed the SSGC to supply 276 mmcfd gas to KE, he added.

The CM Sindh said the ball was in the federal government’s court as it had 73 percent share in SSGC and 24 percent ownership of KE, so the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government, that’s in power, had to get it settled.

“Why are penalising people of Karachi,” he questioned from the federal government.

Murad Shah said that power outage also affected water supply in Karachi because pumping stations got tripped.

Talking about extra load shedding in rural areas of the province, he said that tentatively about 16 hour prolonged load shedding was restored in Shaheed Benazirabad, 14 hours in Sukkur, 12 hours in Mirpurkhas, 16 hours in Larkana, 14 hours in Hyderabad, 18 hours in his home district Jamshoro.

Shortfall in federal transfers of funds: Talking about federal transfers (funds), the chief minister said that so far the federal government had given Rs94 billion short.

“This has caused serious problems with the financial health of the provincial government,” he said and added that was why he had curtailed development expenditure “because we can’t curtail salary expenditures,” he said.

Murad Ali Shah said that it was the inefficiency of the federal government that it could not achieve its tax recovery targets. As far as the Sindh government was concerned its collections were close to the targets. The SRB, Excise & Taxation would achieve their recovery target, he vowed.

Pointing towards Jamaat-e-Islami’s announced sit-in against power cuts and water scarcity, he said that some people against load shedding and water shortage were planning to stage sit in at the CM House. “You have every right to protest against non-provision of utility services but I would invite all political parties to come together and stage sit-in in front of the PM House and I’ll be with you,” he said.

Water Shortage: Sindh chief Minister Murad Ali Shah talking about water shortages during Rabi season said that the IRSA had conveyed that there would be 20 percent water shortages but the shortages reached to 36 percent. “I don’t know the water shortage was natural or it was theft,” he said.

NAB: Replying to a question about the raid the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) conducted on the Local Government Department, Murad Ali Shah said that he and his government would never create bottle necks in curbing the corruption but there should a decent a legal system to initiate inquiries and conduct raids.

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