Sindh Cabinet approves Sindh Occupational Safety and Health Bill 2017

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KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet has approved the Sindh Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2017, so as to deal with the incidents like Baldia factory fire which claimed 259 precious lives besides burn injuries to several others.

This decision was taken in the cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah here at the CM’s House on Thursday.

The agenda of the cabinet included Enactment of Sindh Occupational Safety & Health Act 2015, Permission to carry out development activities in Thar Wildlife Sanctuary,  Sindh Safe Bood Transfusion Act 2017, Establishment of Sindh Institute of Traumotology, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (SITOR) Karachi; Sindh Non-formal Education and Alternative Learning Pathways (ALP) Policy; Sindh Press, Newspapers, News Agency and Books Registration Act 2017; Amendment in Section 144 of code of Criminal Procedure 1889; Sindh Livestock Registration and Trade Authority  Bill-2017, Sindh Institute of Animal Health Bill, 2017 and Reconsideration of NAB Laws.

The Labour Department presented Sindh Occupational Safety & Health Bill-2015 before the cabinet. The Labour Department presenting its case for approval of the bill said that the Sindh government has signed Joint Action Plan (JAP) for promoting workplace safety and health. The employer federation and ILO, Islamabad are co-signatories.

The Chief Minister said that it was an old bill prepared in 2015 but the Labour Department failed to present it for the approval of the cabinet meeting. In principle, it should have been approved and passed just after the incident of Baldia factory in which 259 workers were roasted alive. “However, I would request the cabinet to approve it because it is most important law,” he said.

It may be noted that under the proposed law three interventions such as enhanced occupational safety & Health management system, an efficient and effective labour inspection mechanism and work-related injuries/accidents compensation system (social protection) would be established.

The cabinet approved the proposed law for its presentation in the assembly.

The Information Department presented `The Sindh Press, Newspapers, News agencies and Books Registration Act 2017 before the cabinet. The department said that consequent upon the abolition of the Concurrent List in the constitution the subject of press stands devolved.

The department proposed that the four features namely, Functioning of Audit Bureau of Circulation; Fixation of Rates for the Newspapers, Formulation of Media List and change of name/title have also been incorporated in the proposed law. The cabinet discussed the draft law and approved it for presentation in the assembly.

The Livestock Department presented Sindh Livestock Registration and Trade Authority Bill-2017 and Sindh Institute of Animal Health Bill-2017. Pleading its case the department said that there was no system for livestock registration, tagging, identification and development of livestock products in place. Hence, for making livestock registration etc and to improve livestock practice in line with international standards for trade and international marketability from the province the authority established.

Furthermore, for technical and institutional support to the authority for technical, disease diagnosis and control, testing, vaccination and establishing disease control zones in the province. Therefore, the department suggested upgrading the existing Sindh Poultry Vaccine Center, Karachi through Sindh Institute of Animal Bill-2017. The cabinet discussed both the draft bills and approved them.

The Forest Department presented a request for grant of permission for exploration and production of oil and gas in Thar Wildlife Sanctuary. The cabinet approved the permission and directed the Forest Department to take necessary measures for the protection of wildlife.

The Health Department presented a draft act for the establishment of Sindh Institute of Traumatology, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation (SITOR) Act-2017. The presentation given by the health department to the cabinet said that the establishment of SITOR for management of increasing number of road accidents and to provide state of art treatment for the victims of various orthopaedic problems and trauma under one roof, including rehabilitation was most important.

The cabinet member proposed that the Trauma Center established near Civil Hospital should be strengthened instead of establishing another institute. On this, the cabinet was told that the institute would be a degree awarding authority. Apart from treatment, it would impart special training to deal with accident and trauma case. The Trauma centre also needs such kind of trained staff. Since, there is no such institute in the province, therefore Trauma Center and other hospitals are facing a shortage of trained staff.

The cabinet approved the draft law to present it in the assembly.

The Health Department also presented a draft bill “Promulgation of Sindh Safe Blood Transfusion Act-2017” and said that under the proposed act would regulate blood transfusion and blood banking system and to regulate the storage and use of safe blood in the province. The cabinet approved the draft act.

The Education Department presented a case for approval of non-formal education policy based on four principles. The non-formal basic education supplements the work of formal schools. It cannot and should not replace the latter. The learning process cannot be based on the same traditional approaches as used in mainstream (formal) schools. The NFE and adult literacy consists of distinct learning system and cater local needs of the participants the participants to ensure relevance and sustainability and there is a need for more flexibility and the greater diversity of contents.

The Chief Minister directed the Education Department to discuss it once again with experts and educationists and then bring it again the cabinet.

The Chief Minister told the cabinet that the party leadership has directed him to revisit the NAB law (amendment in Sindh Section), therefore it may be discussed here. The cabinet members proposed a committee under Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro, Law Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah, Culture Minister Syed Sardar Shah and Advocate General Zamir Ghumro as its members. The committee would discuss it in detail and give its recommendation within next 60 days.