KARACHI, May 10: The Sindh government would deliberate on a legislation to impose a complete ban on the sale of gutka in the province. The matter would come before the Sindh cabinet on Wednesday as the government was contemplating to introduce a comprehensive bill in the assembly.
This was stated by Senior Minister Syed Sardar Ahmad during question hour in the assembly on Tuesday. He was of the view that use of Section 144 was not the proper way to check the sale of gutka.
In his written reply to Mr Assar Das D. Hemnani of the opposition, Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Rahim described gutka as injurious to health and informed the house that the home department had already prepared a case for dealing with the menace.
In today’s session, questions pertaining to health department were raised and many of them remained unanswered.
Replying to a question from Dr Mahreen Razzak Bhutto of the PPP Parliamentarians about action taken against fake blood banks in Larkana and those involved in the illegal sale of blood, Arbab Rahim in a written reply stated that about 70 blood banks involved in illegal sale of blood had been served with notices from the EDO Health. If they would not stop their business, the blood banks would be closed.
To a question from Humera Alwani of the PPP-P, the chief minister admitted that Hepatitis-E was a new threat to pregnant women. It was caused by lack of clean water and inadequate environmental sanitation. However, he said that the government was setting up desalination plants to provide more clean water and old gutter lines were being replaced to improve sewerage and sanitation besides vigorously pursuing the population control programme.
Replying to a query raised by Abdul Rahman Rajput of the MMA, Arbab Rahim informed the house that 5,313 people suffered stomach diseases in Hyderabad due to use of polluted water from April to June 2004 and 38 people had died.
About incidents of dog bites and shortage of anti-rabies vaccines, the chief minister reported that 1,496 cases of dog bites were reported in district Thatta last year. Maximum efforts were made to meet the need and requirements of vaccines. The sole manufacturer’s of vaccine was National Institute of Health, Islamabad. He admitted that sometimes number of patients increased unexpectedly which resulted in shortage of medicines.
Dr Arbab Rahim also informed the house that campaign against quacks had been launched which gave excellent results and it would soon be launched again for removing the menace.
To a question form leader of the opposition Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, the chief minister said that the four-tier formula for promotion of doctors was adopted in the year 1995 under which 4,030 posts of general cadre doctors, demonstrators and dental surgeons were upgraded. The four-tier formula was still in vogue in health department and the doctors were promoted from time to time as per available vacancies. Promotion from BPS-17 to 18 would be considered as per rules/policy under the four-tier formula on availability of vacancies. He said that health department had already adopted the four-tier formula and promotion would be made on seniority-cum-fitness basis against available vacancies as required under rules/policy.
The government had no answer to Hameedullah advocate’s question asking for the number of cancer patients reported for treatment at Sindh government hospitals/ dispensaries in each district from Jan 1, 2004 to March 15, 2005 as well as the nature of treatment provided to each patient.