Not satisfied with anything, MPAs want more money for everything


The general discussion on budget 2011-12 in the Sindh Assembly continued on Monday with lawmakers belonging to different parties calling for increasing their departmental funds; improvement in law and order; and uniform education system in the province. Participating in the discussion, Sindh Food Minister Mir Nadir Magsi complained that Rs 188 million allocated to his department in the budget are not enough as his department procures 1.5 million tonnes of wheat every year but has no room for its storage. “Tonnes of wheat are damaged due to lack of storage facilities,” he said, “[with this amount] the department would not be able to arrange more godowns even in the next 10 years.”
The PPP lawmaker said the government has allocated Rs 45 million for upgrading Shahdadkot taluka hospital but the actual cost of the scheme is around 800 million. “Only Rs 90 million have been allocated for irrigation systems in Larkana and Kambar-Shahdadkot districts that is not even sufficient for cleaning the canals,” added Magsi. The minister said the repair work on embankments along the Indus River is going on slowly, and “the situation on the right bank of the river is so bad that the population living on that side is under threat.” Showing concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the province, Magsi said that people kidnapped from Karachi and other parts of Sindh are being shifted to areas in Balochistan, “but the Sindh police are unable to take action on the other side of the [provincial] border.”
PPP leader and Works and Services Minister Manzoor Wasan said his department plans to construct 1,500 km roads in the province during the forthcoming financial year and improve 600 km of roads. “Thirty-five bridges will also be constructed during the year while around 987 km roads, damaged due to last year’s floods, will also be constructed and repaired.” Asking the government to review class-based education in the province, Sindh Katchi Abadis Minister Rafiq Engineer mentioned that the Karachi Grammar School is reluctant to reserve even five percent quota for children belonging to poor families. Quoting an incident, he added that he had attempted to get a child of martyr admitted to the school but was refused.
Participating in the discussion, MQM’s lawmaker and Industries Minister Rauf Siddiqui said despite facing the worst floods during the last year, the government has presented the best budget. “The allocation of Rs 161 billion for development programmes is a record but the allocation for law and order should be increased and the MPAs Development Programme raised from Rs 40 million to Rs 80 million.”
Supporting his demand, MQM’s Environment and Alternate Energy Minister Sheikh Muhammad Afzal said the MPAs programme should be increased by Rs 100 million. However, he complained that despite the fact that environment is the most important issue globally no schemes of his department have been included in the budget.
Sindh Fisheries Minister Zahid Bhurgari said his department has consulted with international experts for treating polluted water of Manchar Lake into freshwater and the people would soon hear the good news in this regard. “The [fisheries] department has fulfilled some 95 percent conditions set by the European Union regarding improvement in fishing conditions and the export of fish will soon be restored.”
PPP’s Haji Ahmed Ali Jalbani demanded funds for schools, hospitals and maternity homes in Thatta district while another party MPA, Muhammad Nawaz Chandio, demanded abolishing local government system introduced by former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. MQM’s Khawaja Izharul Hassan repeated his party’s demand for imposing agricultural income tax and introducing land reforms. Demanding audit of funds given to police besides monitoring the law enforcers’ performance, he added that local people should be given priority for recruitment in the police department.