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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted the Sindh Occupational Safety and Health Bill after some minor amendments.

The bill, which was tabled by Pakistan Peoples Party’s parliamentary party leader Nisar Khuhro in view of the Sept 12, 2012 Baldia factory fire, was taken up for consideration.

The bill aimed at ensuring provision for occupational safety and health conditions at all workplaces for the protection of persons at work against risk of injury arising out of the activities at workplaces and for the promotion of safe, healthy and decent working environment adapted to physical, physiological and psychological needs of all persons at work.

Lawmaker decries ‘discrimination’ against KMC-run schools

Before it was carried unanimously, brief speeches were made by Mr Khuhro, Labour Minister Nasir Shah, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Samar Ali Khan and Dilawar Qureshi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

They all termed the legislation need of the hour.

The house was called to order at 11.45am by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.

Mr Khuhro made a motion for replacement of Irfanullah Khan Marwat, who was unseated from the standing committee on home affairs, with Sharjeel Memon.

He also pointed out that some other committees also needed replacement of members in view of the resignations of some MQM lawmakers.

On the suggestion of the speaker it was agreed that that the leaders of all parliamentary parties would meet in a day or two for consultation and find the replacement of those MQM’s lawmakers who reportedly resigned.

Shaharyar Khan Mahar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional stood on a point of order and said that despite commitment by the education minister to carry out repair work in school buildings by June 30, not a single school had been repaired.

As the minister concerned was not present, the point of order remained unanswered.

Without naming PML-F’s Nusrat Saher Abbasi, Senior Minister Khuhro also drew the attention of the speaker towards criticism by an MPA on a ruling of the chair during press talks to bring a no-confidence motion on the conduct of the chair. The chair said under the Rules of Business any ruling of the speaker could not be challenged.

The chair called it a day at 2.15pm to re-assemble on Nov 20 (Monday).

Wall around under-construction Bakhtawar Tower

In his calling-attention notice, PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman raised the issue of a 15-foot-high wall around the under-construction Bakhtawar Tower in Clifton Block-2 and said that it was causing inconvenience to 200 families living in the Marine Drive apartment.

Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro said that the wall was being built to save people from their loss of life and property due to the ongoing construction work of the building.

He assured the house that as soon as the building was complete, the wall would be removed.

Qamar Abbas Rizvi of the MQM said that while the people of Karachi were facing extreme shortage of water, a huge quantity of water was being wasted in front of the Karachi Central Prison due to leakages in the main water supply lines. He said despite his repeated attempts no action was taken by the government.

He also pointed out the issue of encroachments on roads from Teen Hatti to Lasbela due to which frequent traffic jams caused hardship to commuters.

LG Minister Shoro criticised the lawmaker for filing a calling-attention notice in less than a week because the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board failed to resolve the water leakage issue in a week. But, he said, the KMC, where Mr Rizvi’s party is in majority, had given him in writing that the encroachment would be removed within one week but so far nothing happened. The legislator should not blame others for “speaking lies” and ought to take his words back, he added.

‘Discrimination’ against students of KMC-run schools

MQM member Kamran Akhtar’s calling-attention notice pointed out alleged discrimination between the students of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation-run schools and provincial government-run schools.

He said the students of KMC-run schools were deprived of the exemption in the enrolment and examination fees and reward money to position holders as announced by the Sindh government for students in other districts.

Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar said that the KMC-run schools had a separate directorate and administration, which had no connection with the provincial government directorate.

He said that it was not discrimination with Karachi since the CM was considering granting the same benefit to the students of the Karachi schools on an application of the KMC.

In her calling-attention notice, Raana Ansar of the MQM asked as to why the Sindh Service Commission was bypassed for recruitment of 1,049 teachers for appointment as headmasters in grade-17.

The education minister said that 1,027 headmasters were recruited on a one-year contract on the basis of a test conducted by the Institute of Business Administration Sukkur under a consolidated policy.

Sukkur filter plant work to be completed in 15 days

In his calling-attention notice, MQM’s Dewan Chand Chawla raised the issue of dysfunctional filter plants in Sukkur.

He said these plants were installed during the days of nazims in Jinnah Chowk and Luis Park for supply of drinking water to the people of Sukkur. He said sewage-mixed water was being supplied to the people.

LG Minister Shoro said that the Sukkur Municipal Corporation (SMC) was short of funds to the extent that it was difficult to pay salaries to its employees.

He said the chief minister was looking after the salaries issue and the government was paying a monthly grant of Rs30 million for carrying out development work and cleanliness and providing facilities to the people.

He said that 70 per cent work on the filter plant of Jinnah Chowk had been completed and remaining 30pc would be completed within 15 days to make it fully functional.

Besides, he said, the SMC had been working on dozens of other filter plants and soon the problems of clean drinking water, sewerage and cleanliness in Sukkur would be resolved.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017