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KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to provide immediate relief to the people of Thar by distributing wheat among them and sending 10 mobile medical teams to the area to provide health care to the ailing people in general and children in particular.

The directives to this effect were given at a meeting, which was chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah at CM House on Sunday night, after a briefing was given to his cabinet on the latest situation in Thar.

The meeting was informed that some 17 children died in the Mithi area of Thar between Jan 1 and Jan 10. Most of them were pre-term deliveries and the newborn carried infections due to deliveries in unhygienic conditions at their home, said the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) director general.

PDMA DG Syed Salman Shah along with adviser to the chief minister on relief and rehabilitation Ali Hassan Hingoro had recently visited Thar on a directive of the chief minister.

Mr Shah said overall 900 patients visited Mithi Civil Hospital OPDs every day according to its medical superintendent Dr Iqbal Bhurgri.

Food Minister Nasir Shah said he found most of the desert population living in poverty during his recent visit to the area. Though there was no drought conditions, the distribution of wheat would give relief to the poor people, he added.

The chief minister directed the food department to distribute wheat free of cost among the people of Thar and directed the health department to dispatch at least 10 medical mobile teams to the far-flung areas of Thar. The teams must be equipped with necessary equipments such as incubators, oxygen and medicines, he said.

Senior minister for education Nisar Khuhro and adviser to the chief minister on information Maula Bux Chandio were directed to rush to Tharparkar on Tuesday to inspect the situation, working of hospital and meet the people to ensure they get government assistance.

Sindh ministers Syed Murad Ali Shah, Jam Mehtab Dahar, Sohail Anwar Siyal, Ali Mardan Shah, MNA Faryal Talpur, MNA Nawab Yousuf Talpur and others attended the meeting.

Rs1.9bn grant for varsities

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has approved a grant of Rs1.9 billion for 19 public sector universities and educational institutions to help them overcome their financial problems and complete their development schemes.

A summary moved by the secretary to the chief minister for universities and boards Iqbal Durrani was approved by Mr Shah, granting Rs1.9 billion out of the total allocated budget of Rs5 billion for universities grant.

The universities and educational institutions which will be given the grant include Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi, IBA Sukkur, NED University of Engineering and Technology, University of Karachi, Jinnah-Sindh Medical University Karachi, Sindh Madressatul Islam University, Karachi; Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University of Law, Karachi; Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur; University of Sindh, Jamshoro; Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro; Peoples University of Medical and Health Sciences for Women, Shaheed Benazirabad; LUMHS, Jamshoro; Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Shaheed Benazirabad; Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam; University of Engineering, Science and Technology, Nawabshah; Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Sakrand; Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto Medical University, Larkana; and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Lyari.

The vice chancellors of public sector universities in a meeting with Mr Durrani on Oct 10, 2015 had told him about an acute shortage of funds the varsities had been facing affecting the ongoing schemes. They had requested the government for a grant so that they could complete their uplift schemes.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2016