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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday called upon the government to ban conversion of plots allotted for industrial purposes but being used for commercial and residential purposes.

The government allotted plots on subsidised rates for setting up industries across the province, but in many cases the owners, after failing to run their industrial units, shut their factories and used the plots for constructing shopping malls and apartment complexes.

The issue was raised by Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Sabir Kaimkhani through a resolution tabled during Tuesday’s session, since it was a private members’ day.

The resolution was adopted unanimously after brief speeches by the mover and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle — parliamentary party leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Senior Minister Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional lawmaker Nand Kumar Goklani and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Samar Ali Khan.

Resolution calls for extension of maternity benefits in private institutions

The lawmakers were of the view that the government had helped the entrepreneurs by extending subsidies as industries not only created job opportunities but also facilitated the country in earning foreign exchange in the head of exports.

However, it was witnessed that instead of reviving their sick industries the industrialists were setting up other projects on the plots allotted solely for industrial purposes.

Four resolutions adopted

The house also adopted four other resolutions on Tuesday.

The first resolution was moved by PML-Nawaz’s Sorath Thebo through which she demanded that the provincial government take steps to frame and implement a maternity benefits policy in private institutions on the pattern of public institutions by allowing a minimum of 90 days paid maternity leave to women workers as envisaged in clause (e) of Article 37 of the Constitution.

It was adopted with consensus after a minor amendment. In her resolution, Rana Ansar of the MQM recommended to the Sindh government to approach the federal government to ensure provision of mandatory gates at all railway crossings for the safety and security of the people.

Mohammad Saleem Rajput of the same party tabled a resolution asking the Sindh government to take up the issue of unannounced loadshedding of electricity and gas in Sindh, Sukkur in particular, as regular outage of basic utilities caused problems for the people.

The last resolution on the order of the day was also tabled by MQM legislator Mohammad Dilawar Qureshi recommending the Sindh government to set up various trade zones in the surroundings of the cities of Sindh and all major markets be shifted to these zones for a better environment.

All three resolutions were carried with consensus.

Bills sent to standing committees

Three private bills were also on the agenda for consideration but these were referred to the standing committees concerned.

The Pakistan University Karachi Bill, 2017 and the University of Art and Culture, Jamshoro Bill, 2017 were tabled by Ghazala Sial of the PPP.

The third bill — The Sindh Prohibition on Manufacture, Promotion and Sale of Gutka and Mainpuri Bill, 2017 — was moved by Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani.

Five private motions and eight amendments in rules of procedure of the provincial assembly could not be taken up for want of time as Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza called it a day at 2pm to reassemble on Wednesday at 10am.

Motion against banks’ merger non-maintainable

Earlier, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani called the house in order at 11.25am.

The adjournment motion of PTI lawmaker Khurram Sher Zaman regarding the merger of Summit Bank with Sindh Bank was taken up.

Terming the merger not in the interest of Sindh Bank and the people of the province, he said that Summit Bank had been facing losses of billions of rupees for the last five years and it only earned meagre profits in 2014 and 2015.

He said the matter was of public importance and should be discussed on the floor of the house.

Sardar Ahmad of the MQM supported the demand and said that the approval of the merger should be taken from the house since the Sindh Bank was the bank of the provincial government.

Senior Minister Khuhro opposed it on technical grounds and said that so far there was no merger, as such the motion was hypothetical.

The speaker quoting from the rules of business declared the motion non-maintainable and ruled it out of order.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2017