Sindh cabinet makes important decisions including amendments in law

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KARACHI: Sindh Cabinet held a meeting on Thursday at the New Secretariat under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and made important decisions including the approval of an amendment in the West Pakistan Highways Ordinance (WPHO) to allow the government construction of permanent or temporary structures only within 50 metres from the middle of the Super Highway, now M9, on its right and 50 metres on its left as part of ‘right of way’ of the M9 Project.

The meeting was attended by all provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon and other concerned secretaries.

The Ordinance, as amended and approved by the cabinet, would be called West Pakistan Highways (Sindh Amendment) Act 2018.

The chief minister was informed that after the construction of Super Highway into M9, the right of way was expanded to hundreds of metres unlike the set standard of 50 metres that is practised in all other provinces. The cabinet approved the draft bill and referred it to the provincial assembly for discussion and approval.

DROUGHT IN THAR:

The cabinet also discussed the drought-like situation in Thar and called for the distribution of free of cost wheat among the people of Thar. The chief minister pointed out that a similar drought-like situation also prevails in Achhro Thar, Kachin and Kohistan.

Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro told the meeting that the chief minister had formed a committee under him to assess the situation in Thar. He had held a meeting with all the stakeholders at Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Mithi.

He also said that the free distribution of wheat in different phases has improved nutrition among the people of the desert has reduced the overall mortality rate.

The cabinet approved the free distribution of one bag of whole wheat per family among the people of Thar. In the desert area of Umerkot, Achhro Thar, Kachho and Kohistan wheat distribution mechanism would be evolved by a committee headed by Food Minister Nisar Khuhro.

From 2014 to 2017, free of cost 1,876,378 bags of wheat have been distributed in 11 phases. The total cost of the wheat comes to Rs6.6 billion.

WATER COMMISSION:

The Health Department discussed the relaxation of Sindh Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (SPPRA) rules for procurement of eight incinerators for Rs227.96 million and three ultrafiltration units for Rs52.315 million. The total amount comes to Rs280.281 million which may also be sanctioned outside the budget.

Health Secretary Dr Fazal Pechuho told the meeting the Water Commission has directed him to expedite the procurement, therefore necessary permission and approval may be accorded. The cabinet approved the procurement of necessary machinery, approved the budget and approved the summary to relax the SPPRA rules for the said purpose.

AMENDMENT IN BRT:

The cabinet approved the amendment in Article 52-A of Karachi Development Authority (KDA) President Order 5 of 1957. Under the amendment, an area of 8 acres of total 12 acres would be reserved for the BRT bus depot of Green Line project and the remaining 4 acres would be reserved for a playground. The cabinet approved construction of bus depot on eight acres and development of playground on the remaining four acres.

BUDGET STRATEGY PAPER:

The cabinet was briefed about the budget strategy paper 2018-19 to 2020-21 prepared by finance and P&D departments.

The main features of main features of budget strategy paper included government’s policies, priorities, strategic allocation of resources and key macroeconomic assumptions over the medium-term framework. The gauges the extent of the ownership and participatory spirit in the realm of fiscal policy formulation.

The cabinet was told that total revenue of 2017-18 was estimated at Rs854.3 billion of which are Rs773.4 billion were received. In short, the federal government gave around Rs75 billion short than the estimated receipts.

The chief minister directed the Finance Department to circulate the budget strategy paper among the cabinet members so that it could be discussed in detail in the next cabinet meeting.