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Tuesday February 07, 2023

People are talking about —

December 12, 2022

— the shocking news that 417 containers worth over $5.4 million of onions; ginger and garlic are held up at Karachi Port because of the refusal by commercial banks to release documents on account of the shortage of foreign exchange. People say this delay in the clearance of vegetables will increase their cost on account of terminal and shipping charges and as a result, consumers will have to pay higher prices, so the government should take immediate notice of the situation.

— the depressing state of many villages, mainly in Sindh, where there is no regular water supply; no educational institutions; no hospitals and above all hardly any employment opportunities. People say sadly, as soon as a child turns six, he is made to look after cattle; when someone is critically ill, the nearest emergency care centres are miles away and as most people do not have the money or the means to travel far, they just resign themselves to their fate.

— how many hotels and lodges were destroyed during the recent floods because they were built on unsafe land, especially in tourist destinations and why the relevant authorities should now pay heed to planning and development to ensure that developers are acquiring proper permits and not undertaking illegal construction activities again. People say unfortunately the trend is to ignore safety and make a quick buck as thousands of tourists visit these places and monetary losses are made up in no time.

— the sad fact that many teachers ignore responsibility by seeking postings in big cities to avail urban facilities and earn extra money by teaching at private academies. People say instead of making tall claims, the apathy of those sitting in the corridors of power should come to an end and the federal and provincial governments take concrete steps to reform public education in both rural and urban areas before the students from rural areas give up on their ambitions.

— how Lahore once known as the ‘city of gardens’ has acquired the moniker, ‘the land of smog’ because come winter, the residents have to wear masks, suffer from coughs and breathing problems as the air quality index drops down to the lowest. People say while other factors are responsible, the real problems are vehicular emissions, industrial pollution, fossil fuel-fired power plants, burning waste and burning coal by brick kilns all of which can be controlled if there is the will.

— the deplorable education situation in the country and the fact that according to estimates, there are thousands of schools that are registered on paper, but in reality, they do not exist. People say it is strange that teachers’ salaries, maintenance charges and cash for other student services are regularly drawn from the treasury departments but there are no checks and balances as to where this money goes and who all are involved in this scam that affects the lives of millions of children.

— the news that the Sindh Assembly passed two resolutions and how most lawmakers, including those from the treasury, were clueless about their purpose because as soon as the session started, the minister concerned requested the Speaker to allow him to move them though they were not part of the agenda. People say this indicates how parliamentary procedures are ignored by law makers as even copies of the resolutions were not shared with the house, showing the non-serious attitude of all our political entities. — I.H.

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