Caretaker Sindh chief minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar has ordered the district administration and the provincial bureau of supply & prices to control artificial price hikes in markets by streamlining the price control system.
Baqar issued the order on Wednesday while attending a meeting via videoconferencing with interim federal finance minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar in Islamabad. The provinces’ finance ministers also attended the meeting.
The caretaker CM asked the officials concerned to ensure proper price management in markets, warning that he would pay surprise visits to markets to check the price lists, prices and even quality of commodities.
The meeting decided that the ongoing crackdown on hoarders of sugar, fertiliser, wheat and other commodities would be intensified. They agreed that the operation against smugglers of commodities, cloth, petrol, diesel and other items would continue to stabilise the market position.
Baqar said his government had already launched an intelligence-based operation against smugglers, seizing cloth and sugar in Karachi, and weapons in Ghotki. Not only have the smugglers and illegal traders been booked by police but punitive action has also been taken against them, he added.
He said the Sindh government had developed the best health facilities which people from other provinces also visit for treatment. “I’m personally visiting hospitals and educational institutions to improve their performance,” he added. Dr Akhtar appreciated the Sindh government for running good health facilities.
The interim CM said he was also visiting the sites of ongoing development works even in the rural areas. He said he had inspected under-construction houses for flood-affected people, and under-construction roads in Sehwan. The purpose of the visit was to expedite the ongoing work and ensure their quality, he added.
Justice (retd) Baqar also directed the provincial planning and development (P&D) department to expedite the restoration work that was initiated to undo the disastrous effects of the last year’s floods so that economic activities could be generated for the flood victims.
He issued the direction while chairing a meeting to review relief measures for the flood victims at the Chief Minister House on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by P&D Board Chairman Shakeel Mangnejo, Principal Secretary to CM Hassan Naqvi, Finance Secretary Kazim Jatoi and Planning Secretary Asghar Memon.
Mangnejo through a presentation informed the meeting that the 2022 floods had submerged 70 per cent area of the province, after which 24 of the 30 districts of the province were declared calamity-hit areas.
The floods killed 1,090 people, injured 8,422 others, washed away standing crops over 3,777,272 acres of farmlands, displaced 12.36 million people, damaged 2.1 million houses, perished 436,435 livestock, and damaged 8,463 kilometres of roads, the P&D board chairman said.
An amount of $1.5 billion was required for the rehabilitation of the affected people and restoration of the damaged infrastructure, against which $773 million had been arranged, including $500 million from the World Bank, whereas, the Sindh government provided its share of $227 million for the purpose, the meeting was told.
The projects included rehabilitating damaged irrigation infrastructure, repair of damaged roads and water supply infrastructure, livelihood restoration, and expansion of Rescue 1122 Service to the district level.
The CM directed the P&D department to ensure quality of work and engage technical experts for proper inspections of the projects being built to ensure that the new infrastructure was weather-resistant.