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Sindh cabinet cancels allotment of 70,000 acres of forest land

Updated January 08, 2019

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Chief Minister Murad Shah chairs a meeting of the cabinet. ─ Photo courtesy CM House Sindh Twitter
Chief Minister Murad Shah chairs a meeting of the cabinet. ─ Photo courtesy CM House Sindh Twitter

KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet on Monday cancelled allotment of 70,000 acres of forest land and decided to launch an operation to get 145,245 acres of illegally occupied such land vacated from influential persons.

The cabinet meeting also approved a Rs900 million donation for the Thar Foundation for investment to pay Rs100,000 annually to each of the 757 families affected by Gorano reservoir and Dukkur Chho Pond as a compensation.

By another decision, it approved two fare slabs for Qingqi rickshaws — Rs10 from 0 to 6 kilometres and Rs15 for more than 6km per passenger — and approved the amendment in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 for the removal of a mayor, deputy mayor, chairman or vice chairman from the office if a vote of no-confidence was passed against him with a simple majority.

Amends LG law to remove mayor, others with a simple majority of council members

These were among the decisions taken by the cabinet, which met here at New Sindh Secretariat presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah. The meeting, which lasted for four hours, had an agenda spread over 30 items. Those who attended the meeting included Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, all provincial ministers, advisers and special assistants.

In the backdrop of the order of the apex court to get all forest land vacated, the meeting was informed by Forest Minister Syed Nasir Shah that 13,000 acres out of 145,245 had already been retrieved from illegal occupants. The chief minister asked the minister to get the remaining land vacated at the earliest with the help of police and Rangers.

Compensation

Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh stated that 757 families living in a one-kilometre radius of Gorano reservoir and Dukkur Chho Pond had been affected apart from those 471 who had been displaced owing to the development/excavation of Thar coalfield block-II.

The cabinet also approved a compensation of Rs100,000 for the 471 affected families of Thar block-II to be paid by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company because they were leaseholders. The 471 families were also being provided with one house in two villages — Senhri Dars and Tharyo Halepoto.

The cabinet asked the chief minister to approach the federal government to pay the affected families from oil and gas fields compensation on the same pattern and ensure local development.

Automatic meter-reading system

The meeting extended the period for the completion of the installation of an automatic meter-reading system till May 2019 by Hesco and Sepco.

Under an agreement for which Rs27.398 billion was paid to Discos (Hesco Rs10.228bn and Sepco Rs17.17bn) to clear all outstanding electricity dues for the period from July 2010 to 2016.

In addition, a monthly amount was also agreed to be paid to Hesco, Rs555.82 million, and Rs513.73m to Sepco, till the installation of AMR systems.

Sugar-cane price

The cabinet on the suggestion of Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu approved the sugarcane price to the growers not lower than Rs182 per 40kg. The meeting also authorised the agriculture minister to appoint market committees.

Approving the two-slab Qingqi fares as suggested by the transport department, the chief minister asked why the registration of the rickshaws was delayed and directed the officials concerned to ensure proper safety precautions in the rickshaws and also register them.

Regarding allotment policy, Secretary Services and General Administration Zulfiqar Shah briefed the cabinet on the present status of the allotments saying that there were six residential colonies of the provincial government in Karachi.

The cabinet discussed the allotment status and said that the forcible vacation of the accommodation from those residing there against the policy would be ethically wrong. Therefore, the cabinet approved one-time waiver for the present allottees and till their retirement they would be entitled to staying there. However, no allotment against the policy would be made onward.

Recruitments

The cabinet approved recruitment for the posts in BPS-1 to BPS-15 on merit. The chief minister directed publication of advertisements in the press and making selection committees. In lower grades only locals would be recruited. However, there would be a five per cent quota for the disabled and 5pc for minorities.

The cabinet constituted a three-member committee under Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh to frame rules for recruitment and to start recruitment.

LG law amendments

The cabinet approved amendments to the Local Govt Act 2013 presented by Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani for the removal of a mayor, deputy mayor, chairman or vice chairman from office if a vote of no-confidence was passed with a simple majority which at present requires a two-thirds majority of the total number of members of the council.

The cabinet authorised the local government minister to appoint the remaining members of the Hyderabad Development Authority and other authorities where required.

By another decision, it approved the creation of a separate department in place of the Sindh Board of Investment and also renewal of contract of Prof Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan Rajput as chairman of the Charter of Inspection and Evaluation Committee.

The irrigation department presented three names, Imtiaz Qazi, Idrees Rajput and Abdul Basit Soomro, for chairman of the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority. The cabinet approved the appointment of Basit Soomro as the two other were not available technically.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2019

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