KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Tuesday announced a Rs50 million financial assistance for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the wake of the North Waziristan military operation and said he welcomed them into Sindh if they carried their identity cards.
The chief minister, who made this announcement while winding up the general discussion on the budget 2014-15 in the newly built assembly hall, clarified that his government had only given instructions to the Rangers and police to check infiltration of militants from Baolchistan and Punjab and no one be allowed entry without identity cards and proper checking.
Know more: Sindh can’t afford more IDPs: CM
He recalled that earlier the IDPs for Swat were welcomed into Sindh and were paid Rs10,000 per family as a fare and to meet their immediate needs.
The chief minister also announced that trucks loaded with relief goods would also be sent to their camps elsewhere.
Referring to the demand of holding local government elections, he said the government was prepared to transfer power to the elected people to perform civic functions by improving the local government system.
Earlier, he termed the budget realistic and pro-poor people and employment-oriented for youths. He said agriculture was the backbone of Sindh, where 70 per cent people depended on it and because of the incentives offered by the government, Sindh had surplus wheat and had bumper crops of cotton and rice.
Referring to the demand for income tax on agriculture, the chief minister said a draft of the law was ready and it would be put before the house in the next session. About the law and order, he said it had been very bad since the General Ziaul Haq’s time but after the 9/11 incident it deteriorated to the extent that a corps commander’s entourage, the US consulate, and a tourists’ bus were attacked. However, after recruitment of additional police personnel and training of Rapid Force and Elite Force, the situation started improving and incidents of targeted killing, extortion, kidnapping came down and huge cache of arms were being seized.
He said last year Rs45 billion was not wasted as the joint efforts of police and Rangers had given results. He said when the PPP came to power 100 persons were kidnapped in Larkana but now the number had declined to three to four persons as many outlaws were killed.
He said that various projects for generation of electricity from alternative sources were being worked out. They included the Thar coal power project, while a windmill energy project had already started producing 50 megawatts. A China firm had shown interest in installing a 660mw power project at Port Qasim, he added.
The chief minister said that in 2016, a coal-fired power project would start generating electricity which would be available at Rs8 per unit against the present rate of Rs16.
He quoted figures of funds allocated for the health, education and other sectors. He said all efforts were being made for uplift schemes in every district. He said the government used to get Rs12 billion to Rs18bn from land transaction but for the past couple of years there had been a ban on land disposal imposed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
He said all record of rights was being computerised that would be completed this financial year. Once the record was finalised, all land disputes from Karachi to Kashmore would be settled, he added.
Mr Shah said there should be no distinction between the rural and urban areas, but the quota system of 60 per cent and 40 per cent was mentioned in the constitution that would continue till the rural areas were developed at par with the urban centres.
He said 40 buses parked in bus depots were being repaired and would come on roads in July. Besides the mass transit programme, Rs3bn had also been allocated for the rapid bus transport project, which would start throughout Sindh at the same time.
He said under the poverty elevation programme every year Rs1 billion was being spent and through the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto youth development programme and Steveta, youth were being trained to reduce unemployment.
The chief minister criticised the leader of the opposition for alleging that no development scheme had been announced for Shikarpur and also his party’s lady colleague’s complaint about Khairpur and said that while a university had been approved for Shikarpur, and a medical college, an engineering college and agriculture college, potable water supply and roads were being built in Khairpur, which was his hometown also.
In every district, a cadet college, schools and 30 colleges in different towns were under construction, he said.
On the complaint about little allocation for Karachi, he said besides the funds for the mega projects of K-4, S-3, Lyari Expressway and KCR, Rs42bn had been allocated for uplift schemes in addition to the Rs6bn per year being given to the KMC to meet its expenses.
He said in Tharparkar 80 reverse osmosis plants were installed last year while 500 more would be installed this year and such plants had also been installed in Lyari and Keamari. And if there was a shortage of potable water in any area, the government was prepared to install RO plants there.
The chief minister said the government was trying to improve services in health and making efforts to improve the quality of education through implementing innovative ideas by introducing vertical programmes to check hepatitis, malaria and measles. To ensure the availability of quality medicines in hospitals, a committee headed by Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi had been formed.
Earlier, 71 MPAs had the opportunity to give their input on the budget.
PML-N parliamentary party leader Irfanullah Marwat appreciated the democratic spirit of the PPP by its blunt reply to anti-democratic forces that the party would not allow democracy to be derailed.
He said if the government had taken a stand not to allow the IDPs to enter Sindh, at least the lawmakers could help them by giving their one month salary.
PML-F deputy parliamentary party leader Syed Rashid Shah Rashdi wanted hospitals in rural areas be given under the supervision of elected representatives.
Prison and anti-corruption minister Manzoor Wasan said Rs12bn had been spent on the remodelling of Nara Canal in 2002-07. Similarly, he said, 36,000 acres of state lands of Nara Canal had been given to different individuals by changing their names in the registers.
Parliamentary party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad said the suggestions of taxes in the finance bill would burden Karachiites.
PPP parliamentary party leader and senior minister for education Nisar Ahmad Khuhro said as the industrialists had the facility of self-assessment tax scheme, the agriculturalists also be entitled to it.
Leader of the opposition Shaharyar Mahar said the budget figures showed that it was not the budget of a province but that of a developed country.
The house, which was called to order at 10.30am, continued without any break till 5pm.
Lawmakers praised Speaker Agha Siraj Durrnai and ex-speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro for the construction of the grand assembly building.
Earlier, the proceedings started with the playing of national anthem.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2014