CM orders relief measures for drought-stricken areas


KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday decided to distribute free of cost wheat among the drought-affected families and provide them fodder and vaccination for their cattle.

He took this decision at the CM House while presiding over a high-level meeting. The meeting was attended by Health Minister Dr Azra Pehuho, Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, Education Minister Sardar Shah, Chief Secretary Major (r) Azam Suleman, Planning & Development (P&D) Chairman Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Board of Revenue Senior Member (BOR) Dr Iqbal Durani, Fisheries & Livestock Secretary Dr Fazal Pechuho, Health Secretary Dr Usman Chachar, Agriculture Secretary Shafiq Mahesar, Local Government Secretary Khalid Hyder Shah, FoodRafiq Buriro and other concerned officers.

It was pointed out that wheat distribution is already in process on the basis of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) database under which 175, 565 families are beneficiaries, including 87,565 of Thar, 15,442 of Umerkot, 14,000 of Sanghar, 19791 of Dadu, 47,945 of Jamshoro, 822 of Kambar Shahdadkot districts.

The announcement was made keeping in view drought-like situation in 148 dehs of seven districts of the province

The chief minister inquired about the performance of the committee comprising various senior officials was made during the last cabinet meeting under Dr Iqbal with Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) secretary, Mirpurkhas commissioner and deputy commissioners of Thar, Umerkot and Sanghar in this regard.

The committee was given the task of consulting with all the major stakeholders including civil administration and civil society to understand the extent of drought, past relief measures and mechanism, impact and requirement of affected people.

Dr Iqbal Durani briefing the chief minister said that his committee held a meeting on August 21 and then visited drought-affected areas from August 24 to 25, 2018. The committee had also held meetings with divisional and district officers and members of civil society to have a clearer view of the situation.

The committee reported that there was a drought in 167 dehs of Thar (excluding five dehs of barrage area), 25 of Umerkot, 88 of Dadu, six of Thatta, 22 of Kambar Shahdadkot, seven of Sanbghar and a large part of Chundko taluka of District Khairpur.

The chief minister said that wheat distribution mechanism much is transparent with third-party evaluation. He added that wheat already available with the food department must be distributed on the basis of UC based scorecard holders.

Dr Iqbal Durani also told the chief minister that the water shortage was another major issue. At this, the chief minister said that he has a report that out of 590 RO plants 443 are functional and 147 non-functional due to the problems of electricity and other issues.

He also said that 237 RO plants have been converted on Solar energy and conversion of others is in progress. The meeting was told that out of 81 water supply schemes, only 43 are functional and 38 are non-functional.

At this, the chief minister directed PHED to make all the un-functional water supply operational and report him.

He also directed the district administration to make necessary arrangements to provide drinking water to the affected villages through tankers. The chief minister also said that the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) would also aid them in distributing water tankers to the affected areas.

The CM said that there is no mechanism for herd management and no data is available regarding composition and body of the herd and feed supplies.

He directed Livestock secretary to work out a plan to for herd mechanism.  “I want a holistic approach to address droughts such as wheat, fodder, water and medicine,” he concluded.