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Monday June 24, 2024

Cabinet okays arrests for dumping construction debris on roadside

By Our Correspondent
May 31, 2024
Sindh Minister for Information, Transport and Mass Transit, Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control, Sharjeel Inam Memon addresses to media persons during a press conference, in Karachi on May 30, 2024. — PPI
Sindh Minister for Information, Transport and Mass Transit, Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control, Sharjeel Inam Memon addresses to media persons during a press conference, in Karachi on May 30, 2024. — PPI

The Sindh cabinet has decided to authorise the provincial police force to arrest the people involved in dumping construction debris on the roadsides in the urban areas of the province.

This was disclosed by Sindh Senior Minister for Information and Transport Sharjeel Inam Memon as he addressed a press briefing on Thursday after a meeting of the provincial cabinet chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at the CM House.

The information minister told media persons that the provincial government spent billions of rupees every year to ensure cleanliness in the urban areas by the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board. He said that reckless disposal of construction debris on the roadsides in urban areas created municipal issues, including blockage of storm water drains.

He told media persons that the station house officers (SHOs) would be issued instructions to arrest the persons involved in the unsafe disposal of the construction debris.

Meanwhile, the Sindh cabinet meeting also approved several initiatives, including launching the Hub Canal project using provincial government resources and allocating 100 acres of land for an inclusive city for persons with disabilities.

Hub Canal project

The CM taking a policy decision in the interest of the residents of Karachi decided to rehabilitate the Hum Dam Canal through his government’s funding.

Karachi has two major water supply sources – the Indus River through Keenjhar Lake providing about 570 million gallons per day (MGD) of water and the Hub Dam.

It was said that the Hub Canal built during 1982-84 had outlived its life and its capacity had reduced from 100 MGD to 70 MGD for many reasons. Some of the large areas of Karachi, including but not limited to Orangi, Baldia, Keamari, SITE and New Karachi, depended upon the water supply from the Hub Canal.

The cabinet was told that an effort was made to undertake the Hub Canal rehabilitation under public-private partnership for Rs75 billion, but the project could not move forward.

The Karachi Water & Sewerage Corporation (KWSC) had submitted a proposal to rehabilitate the existing Hub canal and construct a new canal of 100 MGD parallel to the existing one, the cabinet was informed.

It was said that the costs of the construction a new canal and rehabilitation of the existing canal had been estimated at Rs9.8 billion and Rs2.92 billion respectively

The cabinet approved the proposal and directed the KWSC to expedite the process and start the work.

Cantonment tax

The cabinet also approved a plan to levy and collect property tax from the cantonment areas as per the Supreme Court’s decisions.

The cabinet was informed that the apex court had ruled that the provincial government would be responsible for imposing and collecting taxes on immovable properties in the cantonment areas. Currently, the cantonment boards were levying and collecting the property tax and entertainment duty.

The cabinet’s policy decision approved the plan that the cantonment boards would keep levying and collecting property tax in their respective areas, keep two per cent service charges and hand over the rest of the amount to the provincial government.

Electric buses

Memon told the cabinet that the National Energy Transport Corporation (NETC) had brought 50 buses which the transport department would operate on three different routes.

He said that a ‘rent to own’ financial model had been proposed for the supply, operation and maintenance of electric buses, along with charging facility, depot infrastructure and alternative energy production for the Sindh govt.

The cabinet considered the proposal for the provision of Rs412.5 million from January to June 2024 as monthly payments for 50 electric buses and subsequently Rs825 million per annum allocation for seven years and Rs412.5 million for the last six months of the contract period as part of the Sindh Mass Transit Authority’s budget. The cabinet approved the proposal, under which the buses would automatically come under the ownership of the Sindh government after seven years.

PWDs

After deliberation, the cabinet approved allotment of 100 acres of land between the Shaheed-e-Millat Expressway and Malir Expressway to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPD).

The CM said a project was required for catering to the inclusion, education, rehabilitation and vocational training needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in one compound.

Shah said that under the project, inclusive schools, a special education & rehabilitation complex, vocational training facility, general hospital, neuropsychiatry ward and institute of clinical psychology would be established.

He stated that a residential facility for PWDs would also be constructed on the plot because there was no separate and dedicated residential facility for the abandoned PWDs.

S-BOSS

The CM told the cabinet that the provincial investment department had created a Sindh Business One-stop-one-shop (S-BOSS) which included an online consolidated business registry that covered applications, e-payment of fees and challans, issuance of no-objection certificates and permissions, application tracking, SMS/email notifications, management dashboard for applicants/departments and e-certification.

Shah mentioned that the current business registration portal only provided four online approvals, while the new S-BOSS would offer 140 online approvals. He explained that of the 48 Sindh government departments, 16 would be integrated into the S-BOSS, including the food authority, health, environmental protection agency, education, industries & commerce, labour, excise & taxation, energy, Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (Sessi), Sindh Revenue Board, Board of Revenue, agriculture, building control authority and local government.

Steel Mills

The CM said Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did not allow the Pakistan Steel Mills to be privatised. “The Sindh government fought this case and finally succeeded,” he said and added that the steel Mills plant was established over an area of 700 acres.

He said that the existing steel mill plant would either be revived or a new plant would be installed in its place so that steel mills being the gift of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto could be allowed to flourish.

Home-based workers

The cabinet approved the establishment of the Sindh Home-Based Workers Council under the labour secretary as its chairman. The council would monitor and oversee the identification and mapping of home-based Workers in different sectors so that they could be registered.