KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Thursday said he had spoken to Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for provision of a smooth and regular gas supply to all the seven industrial areas in the province.
“I will also take up the issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tomorrow (Friday),” said the chief minister while presiding over a meeting with the SITE Association of Industry at the CM House here on Thursday.
Answering questions raised by the SITE representatives, the chief minister said Mr Dar had assured him that the grievances of Sindh would be addressed as soon as the federal petroleum minister returned from abroad.
“Mr Dar has also assured me that there would be no gas closure in Sindh,” the chief minister said, and added: “But I would not stop here and take up this issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is arriving here on Friday (tomorrow). I am sure he would solve it. Otherwise, other avenues are open,” he pointed out.
Talking about the SITE Association issues with K-Electric, the chief minister held out the assurance that he would sit with them (SITE body) after the budget to get their issues with the power utility resolved.
Responding to the issue of water shortage in the SITE area, the chief minister directed Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqi to implement the decision he had taken in a previous meeting. “I had asked you to manage five to seven MGD (million gallon per day) water for SITE. Why this decision has not been implemented so far?” he asked and directed him to hold a meeting with the KWSB and get it implemented.
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He also directed the commissioner to coordinate with the KMC and get their storm water drains cleaned. “This is a genuine problem. Sewerage water starts gushing out onto the roads when drains are choked. This problem damages the roads also,” Mr Shah observed.
Talking about fire incidents, the chief minister urged the association to ensure proper fire extinguishing arrangements in their industrial units. “I am also taking necessary measures to procure latest and necessary fire extinguishing facilities. This is very important in terms of life and property,” he said.
“I am also well aware that there was a bottleneck at Orangi drain where traffic jams are a routine matter. I am exploring the way which most probably would be widening of Afza flyover,” he said and added that necessary action would be taken shortly.
The association requested the chief minister to shift the CPLC unit to a neutral place. “The IG office would not be suitable for such an institution,” they said. The chief minister assigned the task to the commissioner with the directives to discuss the matter with the traders community and take decision in consultation with him.
Earlier, the association members Qasim Siraj Teli, Zubair Motiwala, Jawed Bilwani and others mentioned some of their pressing issues such as property tax, supply of gas problem to all the seven industrial areas, issues with K-electric, water shortage, cleaning, frequent fire incidents and traffic bottleneck at Orangi nala.
Mr Zubair Motiwala proposed that collection rights of the property tax from the SITE area be given to SITE Limited so that the same could be used for development of infrastructure. The chief minister said: “Under the law only the excise and taxation department was competent to collect property tax. However, we are exploring the ways and means to hand over the collected amount to SITE Limited for development of the infrastructure of SITE area,” he said and directed Industries Secretary Ms Shazia to float a summary for the purpose.
Mr Zubair Motiwala said the federal government had started operating Jamshoro and Kotri power plants by providing them 113 MMCF and 40 MMCF gas respectively from the share of Sindh, but the electricity generated from the two plants was being taken by the Punjab.
Mr Motiwala said Punjab’s contribution in national production of gas was only five per cent against which it was consuming 45 per cent while Sindh, which was producing 73 per cent of gas, was being given only 29 per cent. “This is an injustice with us, therefore it must be done away with,” he urged.
At the end of the meeting, the SITE Association of Industry thanked the chief minister for his support and cooperation.
The meeting was attended by Qasim Siraj Teli, Zubair Motiwala, Principal Secretary to CM Alamuddin Bullo, Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqi, Industries Secretary Shazia, Local Government Secretary Imran Attta Soomro, Excise & Taxation DG Shoaib Siddiqui and senior officers of the finance department.
Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2015