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The Sindh cabinet has green-lit the job quota for transgender persons in all the departments of the provincial government. The advisory group has also fixed the bus rapid transit (BRT) fare structure and okayed the issue price for the 2019-20 wheat crop.
The meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at the new Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday, was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, ministers, advisers, the provincial and Karachi police chiefs and the secretaries of the relevant departments.
Through a resolution the cabinet urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to convene a Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting to discuss the outstanding issues of the provincial government.
According to the Constitution, a CCI meeting has to be held every 90 days, but no such meeting has been called for the past 11 months.
The energy minister told the cabinet that the federal government is reluctant to approve the province’s alternative energy projects. He said that a tendency of creating problems under one or the other pretext has been noted. The CM will take up these issues when the CCI meeting is convened.
Law & order
Sindh police chief Dr Syed Kaleem Imam and Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon briefed the cabinet about the law & order situation, particularly that of street crime, in the city.
The meeting was told that no incident of terrorism has taken place in the city this financial year, with 97 per cent reduction witnessed in target killings when compared to 2013, and a 76 per cent decrease in extortion cases.
Karachi was the sixth-most unsafe city in the world according to the 2014 Crime Index (CI). The city climbed down to No. 10 on the CI in 2015, No. 26 in 2016, No. 47 in 2017, No. 61 in 2018 and No. 70 this year.
Karachi in 2019 is apparently much safer than South African city Johannesburg (No. 7) and capital Cape Town (No. 22), Bangladeshi capital Dhaka (No. 38) and American city Chicago (No. 42). In 2013 eight murders a day were committed and now the number has been reduced to 1.2.
The cabinet was told that a commendable reduction has been recorded in the snatchings of four-wheelers, two-wheelers and mobile phones when compared to the situation in 2013.
A decrease of 78 per cent, 73 per cent and 29 per cent in the snatchings of four-wheelers, two-wheelers and mobile phones has been recorded when compared to 2013, 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Replying to a question, the CM was told that 317 street crime gangs have been busted and 621 criminals arrested, with the registration of 690 FIRs, while 440 proclaimed offenders and 3,530 absconders have also been arrested this year.
Among the causes of street crime, the police chiefs counted a large number of drug addicts on the streets, crime as a source of living, purchasing drugs, no proper rehabilitation mechanism and ownership, poverty, illiteracy, inflation, unemployment, mass urbanisation, disgruntled youth and illegal immigrants.
Talking about the factors hampering police performance, Imam said that non-registration of cases topped the list. He told the cabinet that 1,063 complainants were approached by the police in three weeks but hardly 14 of them agreed to get their cases registered.
The other factors, as stated by the police chief, were liberal bail policy, lack of central database of criminals, hideouts of criminals in 162 slum areas of the city and lack of safe city projects.
The cabinet was told that in 2018 only 0.73 points of the ice drug were recovered while in 2019 its recovery has been recorded at 132.756 points. At this the CM said that the difference of 132.24 points was huge.
“This shows that either the drug peddlers have pumped the ice drug into the city in a huge quantity this year or it was allowed unchecked into the city,” said Shah.
He added that it was unacceptable and the police must clear the city of drug peddlers and smugglers. “We can’t leave our children at the mercy of drug peddlers.”
In 2018, 219.837kg of heroin was recovered while in 2019 its seizure reached 1,107.403kg. In 2018, over 436,602 Gutka, Mawa and Mainpuri packets were seized while in 2019 its recovery has been recorded at 4,034,652 packets. The cabinet directed the police chief to launch a vigorous and ruthless operation against drug peddlers and smugglers.
The cabinet was told that during 2019, 3,363,699 traffic violation tickets were issued and fines of Rs766 million were recovered. Some 7,197 drivers were arrested for violation of traffic rules and 1,056,560 vehicles were impounded.
The transport department told the cabinet that consultants have prepared the fare structure for all the BRT lines in Karachi. Once the fare is approved, investors will be attracted and investment deals will easily be negotiated.
The fare structure is as follows: Rs15 for up to 2km, 2-4km Rs20, 4-6km Rs25, 6-8km Rs30, 8-10km Rs35, 10-12km Rs40, 12-14km Rs45, 14-16km Rs50, and 16km and above Rs55. The cabinet approved the fare structure and directed the transport department to start negotiations with BRT lines’ investors.
The home department told the cabinet that the Sindh police chief has submitted a proposal for fixing 0.5 per cent quota for transgender persons for recruitment in the provincial police department. The CM said the rehabilitation of transgender persons is one of the priorities of his government.
“We have to bring them in the mainstream by offering them jobs in government departments,” he said, approving a proposal of giving 0.5 per cent quota to transgender persons not only in the Sindh police but in all government departments.
He directed the social welfare department to take necessary measures to encourage transgender persons towards education and technical trainings. He congratulated the transgender community on the approval of their quota in government services.
The chief executive also issued the directive that transgender persons, apart from their special quota in government jobs, can participate in open competition without any discrimination.
Wheat issue price
Through a presentation the food department told the cabinet that last year the issue price for wheat was Rs3,250 a bag of 100kg in polypropylene bags and Rs3,315 in jute bags. At present, the price of wheat in the open market of Karachi is Rs4,200 to Rs4,250 per 100kg bag.
Just to ensure the sufficient availability of wheat in the open market and to maintain a stable price of Atta, the food department has to release around 1.2 tonnes of wheat for local consumption between September 2019 and March 2020.
The cabinet was told that the food department has 800,000 tonnes of wheat in its stores to release in the market and it will have to purchase 100,000 tonnes from Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation (Passco) at a rate of Rs844.5 per 100kg bag.
The cabinet approved the purchase of wheat from Passco. The meeting also approved the issue price for wheat at Rs3,450 per 100kg bag. Punjab has fixed the issue price at 3,437.5 per 100kg bag.
Amal Umer Act
The cabinet approved the rules and regulations of the Sindh Injured Person Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umar) Act 2019. Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said the injury case of Amal Umar had happened due to the gun fired in a police encounter on August 13, 2018.
The injured girl was not entertained at a private hospital and the health facility wasted 40 to 45 crucial minutes due to unnecessary medico-legal requirements and ultimately the patient died during her shifting to another hospital.
The law passed by the assembly will help save lives of injured persons without any essential police involvement. Under the rules and regulations of the Act, the cost or payment incurred on the person provided emergency medical treatment will be borne by the health department.
The cabinet approved the rules and directed the finance department to move a summary for creating a special fund for the persons receiving emergency medical treatment.
The health department told the meeting that disability cases, including congenital, and the increase in the number of road traffic accidents, a large number of citizens have been rendered handicapped recently. Further, non-communicable diseases occurred due to cerebrovascular accidents and cardiopulmonary events have resulted in physical disabilities as usual.
To overcome all of these unexpected and frequent happenings that occur in routine life, an institute with state-of-the-art facilities is required to be developed for methodology and standardised technique towards rehabilitation of disability services with the help of physiatrists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, language and swallowing therapists, prosthetics, autism specialists, neurophysiologists, special educators, vocational therapists, nutritionists and social workers.
The draft of the Sindh Institute of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (SIPMR) Act 2019 was then approved by the cabinet and referred to the provincial assembly.
The cabinet approved a grant-in-aid of Rs350.24 million for the continuation of the Sindh Rescue & Medical Service fleet of 60 Aman ambulances in Karachi for the period from July 2019 to December 2019.
The energy department presented a draft of the Alternative & Renewable Energy Policy 2019 prepared by the Ministry of Energy. The CM directed the energy department to provide the draft of the policy to the cabinet members for consideration.
The advisory group approved the estimated budget for the Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority (SKAA) for 2019-20 to the tune of Rs417.33 million, including a provincial government grant of Rs200 million and the revised estimates for 2018-19 of Rs338.663 million.
The chief executive directed the finance department to induct their senior officer in the SKAA budget’s preparation work so that it can be done professionally.
The forest department told the cabinet that the Sui Southern Gas Company had sought their permission for laying a gas pipeline from the Ayesha gas field to MV Golarchi in Badin through the forest lands.
The cabinet observed that the Ayesha gas field has not done any work in the development of social work. The company has not hired locals, so they cannot be given the right of way through the forest lands.
The CM directed the energy department to provide the details of the Ayesha gas field, including their contribution in the social sector, local employment and other areas, so that their request can be considered.
The cabinet approved the appointment of Khawand Bux Domki (BS-11) as administrator of Nindo Shaher Town Committee (District Badin) and that of Ahsan Ali Shah (BS-17) as administrator of Pangrio Town Committee (Badin).
The law department sought the consent of the cabinet to give pension to the judges of the Sindh High Court who were retired before the completion of five years of service.
The cabinet said the law was very clear that the judges who have not completed five years of service are not entitled to have their pensions.