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KARACHI: Against the backdrop of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Saturday asked the local government department and the Karachi mayor to devise a rehabilitation plan in the soonest possible time.

He said that the Supreme Court’s order for removal of encroachments from the city provided a guideline for the government so the operation would continue, but people’s settlements would be protected as much as possible.

Presiding over a meeting of the Sindh cabinet at the Sindh Secretariat, CM Shah warned the deputy commissioners, superintendents of police and SHOs concerned that they would be responsible for every new encroachment in the city.

Body to rehabilitate affected shopkeepers

The chief minister constituted a committee comprising LG Minister Saeed Ghani, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, Law Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab, Karachi Mayor Akhtar and the commissioner tasking it to work out a detailed report of the affected shopkeepers with recommendations for alternative places and compensation for their rehabilitation.

The meeting was informed that more than 1,000 shopkeepers were affected in the Empress Market operation while 2,200 others were affected by the operation in Saddar and adjoining neighbourhoods.

The CM says operation will continue, but people would not be removed from their homes

They would preferably be accommodated in the areas nearest to their previous establishments, officials said.

He ordered that encroachments in parks, footpaths and streets should be removed. However, people should not be evicted from their homes.

Briefing reporters, Law Adviser Wahab said that the issue of removal of encroachments from the city was taken up by the cabinet as a special agenda.

Over 6,000 to be compensated for KCR revival

Planning and Development chairman Mohammad Waseem told the CM that the houses to be demolished for the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway had been covered under the KCR project.

He added the number of people to be affected would be more than 6,000 and they would be compensated accordingly.

Barrister Wahab said encroachments on the route of KCR would also be removed and those who were genuinely affected by the operation would be compensated.

The cabinet also renamed the Sindh Katchi Abadis department as the human settlement, spatial development and social housing department.

SITE issue

The cabinet also took up the issue involving the observations of the Supreme Court-mandated water commission and recommendations regarding the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) Ltd.

It said that SITE Ltd had no authority to convert industrial plots into commercial ones in its area. The chief minister ordered removal of all encroachments made by commercial entities causing obstruction in the flow of drains in all estates of SITE Ltd.

The cabinet approved that SITE Ltd should undertake the task on its own.

The chief minister constituted a committee comprising Industries Adviser Mohammad Bux Maher, LG minister and law adviser to review the layout/master plans of SITE Ltd thoroughly and make necessary recommendations for their uplift.

It was also approved to change the composition of the SITE boards in which role of the government had been increased.

The cabinet discussed and approved the proposal of the Sindh Minimum Wages Board which had recommended minimum rates of wages for skilled, semi-skilled and highly skilled employees in 41 different categories of industries in the province.

As per its recommendation, the wage of highly skilled worker would be from Rs21,083 to Rs22,569. The salaries of skilled workers would be from Rs18,589 to Rs19,836 and the wage of semi-skilled worker would be from Rs16,596 to Rs17,345. The minimum wage of unskilled labour had already been approved at Rs16,200.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018