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Sindh govt proposes to convert Governor House into museum

Decides to allocate land for graveyard in Karachi

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday proposed to convert the Governor House into a museum and its land into a public park, if the governor chose to vacate it.

The Sindh Cabinet in its maiden meeting held under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took this decision. The meeting was attended by all the eight ministers, two advisors, chief secretary, inspector general Sindh Police and relevant secretaries.

The cabinet members took up the issue of the Governor House and said that the federal government had decided to vacate the house. Therefore, necessary decision about the Governor House may be taken. At this the chief minister asked Senior Member Board of Revenue Iqbal Durrani about the title of the property of the Governor House.

The chief minister was told that the Governor House property belonged to the Sindh government.

The cabinet proposed to convert the Governor House into a museum and its land as a public park, if the governor chose to vacate it.

The government declared Thar and parts of Umerkot as drought-hit areas, decided to allocate land for graveyard in Karachi and also to establish a desalination plant to provide drinking water to people of the megapolis.

The chief minister said that the last government had passed a three months budget to enable the caretaker government to make necessary expenditures up to September 2018.

“Now, we have to make new budget before Sept 30 and present it in the house.

“The financial situation of the province is not so good because the funds we were expecting from the federal government have not been received,” he said.

Talking about suo moto case regarding utilization of luxury vehicles, Murad Shah directed the chief secretary to put the item in the agenda of the next cabinet so that appropriate decision about the vehicles could be taken.

Taking serious view of water supply schemes in Karachi, the CM directed the minister local government to start work on war footings to install desalination plant in Karachi so that water issue of the city could be resolved as soon as possible.

Home Secretary Mohammed Haroon and IG Police Javed Saleemi briefed the cabinet about law and order situation in the province.

The home secretary told the meeting that over all law and order situation in the entire province was well under control. The meeting was told that necessary instructions had been issued to the commissioners, deputy commissioners, IG police and DIGs regarding law and order situation, cleanliness and other arrangements during Eid-ul-Azha.

All the DCs had been authorized to issue licenses to dealers/charities to purchase and sell hides/skins during Eid after necessary verification and completion of legal formalities.

The cabinet was also informed that standard operating procedure about skin/hides was issued in the both English and Urdu. The list of banned organisations (Schedule IV) had been publicized and provided to all the concerned authorities so that strict vigilance could be made on their activities.

The IG police briefing the cabinet about overall law and order situation said that movement on Sindh-Balochistan and Punjab borders was being monitored.

The chief minister directed the IG that the police should take strict measures in the entire belt of Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Dadu and nearby other districts as during last Eid-ul-Azha terrorists had detonated a bomb in Shikarpur.

Secretary Irrigation Jamal Shah briefed the cabinet about water position. He said that due to water shortage rice crop had suffered huge loss.

It may be noted that the Kharif season starts from April 1 and continues up to September 30. The early kharif starts from April 1 to June 10 and the late Kharif is between June 1 to September 30. The early kharif supplies are dependent on stored water in the reservoirs and inflow at rim stations.

The meeting was told that before entering into early Kharif both, Tarbella and Mangla went dry in first week of March 2018. Tarbella got empty touching RL 1386 and Mangla touched dead level at RL 1050.

The cabinet was told that Tarbella has present capacity of 6.05 and the storage as of April 1, 2018 was zero while the present capacity of Mangla is 7.40 and its storage as of April 1, 2018 was also zero.

The water shortage in April 2018 was 45 percent, in May 53 percent, June 38 percent, July 14 percent and August 25 percent.

The meeting was told that the present discharge at Guddu is 256000 cusecs against accord allocation of 37000 while the withdrawals are 28765 cusecs. At Sukkur Barrage the actual discharge is 205000 against accord allocation 56600 cusecs while the withdrawals are 55645. The discharge of Kotri Barrage is 52000 against accord allocation of 23400 cusecs and the withdrawals are 41835 cusecs.

The meeting was told that drinking water has been given top priority. Cotton cultivation has also been assigned priority as sowing is seasonally limited. Supplies for paddy seedlings deferred by one month means from June 10, 2018 and transplantation was consequently deferred till July 1. The schedules were publicized for the information of the growers. Water rotation plan was also publicized and implemented.

The chief minister said that with changing climatic order the water availability situation is expected to progressively worsen.

The Irrigation department spelt out possible way forward which include construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam, water conservation, switching over from conventional practices of flood irrigation to efficient practices. There was also a suggestion to defer rice sowing season by one month – from May 1 to June 15.

Murad Shah said that Kinjhar, Haleji, Hadero and other depressions can also be developed as a reliable reservoir for water supply to Karachi and KB Feeder.

He directed provincial minister and advisors to visit barrages and get water briefing on the spot and report him. Provincial Minister Mir Shabirt Bijarani will vist Guddu Barrage, CM Advisor Mohammad Bux Maher will visit Sukkur Barrage, Ismail Rahu will visit Kotri Barrage and Syed Sardar Shah and Makhdoom Mahboob Zaman will visit left bank canals of the Sukkur Barrage.

CM Murad said that he had banned cultivation of rice on the left bank of the River Indus. He directed the chief secretary to get report from all the DCs about the rice cultivation on the left bank of the river so that action could be taken.

Drought in Thar: Senior Member Board of Revenue Iqbal Durani briefed the cabinet on drought situation in Thar.

Drought is a period of usually dry weather that may stretch long enough to cause problems in region such as crop damage, affect livelihood of people.

Taluka Mithi received only 58 mm rain during last three months, June to August. Islamkot 24 mm, Diplo 51mm, Kaloi 10 mm, Chachhro 105 mm, Dahli 120 mm and Nagarparkar 40 mm. All the 167 dehs of all talukas of Tharparkar and 25 dehs of Umerkot are declared calamity hit areas.

Around 323,435 families of Thar and 43240 families of Umerkot have been affected.

The BoR recommended that government dues may be postponed, remission of government duties such as land tax, agriculture income tax. Wheat may be distributed and funds for relief work may also be released.

The cabinet decalred Thar and 25 dehs of Umerkot as calamity hit areas and decided to give them relief package which includes wheat distribution at the quantity of 50 kg per family per month. The chief minister directed the SMBR to seek drought position of Achhro Thar, Kachho and Kohistan from the concerned deputy commissioners so that the people living there could be helped out.

The chief minister also constituted a committee comprising Revenue Minister Makhdoom Mahboob and Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah to visit Thar along with SMBR, provincial secretaries of health and food and recommend relief measures so that proper support to the drought affected areas could be made.

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