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November 2, 2019

Database of 4m vehicles registered with excise dept fully safe, PA told


November 2, 2019

The Sindh Assembly was assured on Friday that automated database of around four million motor vehicles available with the Sindh excise & taxation department was fully secured and being maintained on a most high-tech basis.

Sindh Excise & Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla gave assurance to this effect as he responded to queries of lawmakers during the question hour of the House related to the provincial IT department.

The excise & taxation minister invited the MPAs to pay a visit to the Sindh excise department to get firsthand knowledge about how best the IT section had been working there to secure the database of the vehicles registered with the department.

He said every department of the provincial government had its own IT set-up to secure and digitise their respective official data and record.

To a question whether any proposal was under consideration regarding the establishment of an FM radio channel by the provincial IT department, Chawla said one such FM radio station had been established in 2010 when Raza Haroon, then MPA of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement who later joined the Pak Sarzameen Party, served as the Sindh IT minister.

The excise & taxation minister said the FM radio station was later handed over to the Sindh police in 2012 for providing updates to people on the traffic situation in the city. He informed the legislature that the transmission of the FM radio station in question could be heard across the city and at some distance on the M-9 Super Highway as well.

Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani expressed his desire for having an FM radio channel established for the provincial assembly in order to make people aware about the proceedings of its sessions.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman asked a question regarding the utility of the IT training provided to the secretariat employees of the Sindh government. He asked in what manner the training had been helpful in overcoming the menace of corruption in the province.

Zaman also wanted to know whether or not provision of such training to the secretariat employees of the Sindh government was wastage of taxpayers’ money available with the provincial kitty.

Responding to Zaman, Chawla said the IT training for the staffers of the Sindh government had been much useful as it enhanced their skills.

57,000 absconders

Meanwhile, an adjournment motion submitted by Zaman, which was about the issue of presence of a large number of absconders in the province wanted by the provincial police force in different criminal cases, was rejected by the chair after terming it out of order.

Chawla, who is also the provincial parliamentary affairs minister, opposed the adjournment motion on behalf of the provincial government. Insisting that his motion be approved, the PTI legislator said the presence of 57,000 absconders in the province was a serious issue as nobody knew what the police had been doing to address it.

Reacting to Chawla’s opposition to his resolution, Zaman said the parliamentary affairs minister might be protecting someone special among the absconding accused in the province and that was why he had opposed his motion.

Compensation for Tezgam victims

Speaking on a point of order, MPA of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Zulfiqar Ali Shah said the Sindh government should also separately announce its own financial compensation for the victims of the Tezgam train fire tragedy who belonged to Sindh.

He said in view of the rising prices of essential commodities, the Sindh government was under an obligation to announce such compensation as there was no solace for a family whose sole breadwinner died in such a massive tragedy.

The PPP legislator said he had just come from Mirpurkhas where he had attended the funeral prayers of five people who had lost their lives in the train fire tragedy of the previous day. He said the bodies of people who had lost their lives in the Tezgam tragedy had been sent from Punjab to their native areas on trucks.

He also recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan had once said when he used to be in the opposition that the railway minister of the country should step down if a train service meets an accident. Such remarks from the PPP MPA prompted PTI lawmakers to make loud protests.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Laghari lamented that lawmakers sitting on the opposition benches had started making noise at such time when the House was discussing the Tezgam tragedy. The protest compelled the deputy speaker to adjourn the PA session till Monday, November 4, at 2 pm.

Earlier, the assembly was given an assurance that the Frontier Works Organisation on behalf of the Sindh government had been working on the under-construction K-IV bulk water supply project for Karachi while Nespak had been hired as a third-party contractor for improvements in the project’s design. The assurance was made by Parliamentary Secretary Muhammad Saleem Baloch on a call-attention notice of MPA Jamal Siddiqui of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.