KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet on Monday approved two allowances for government doctors at par with their counterparts in Punjab, which would cost Rs5.6 billion annually.
However, it was decided that appropriate legislation would be made linking allowances with the performance and achievement like that of teachers and other professionals who were also being linked to time scale and other allowances.
Besides the approval, the cabinet meeting also condemned Indian atrocities in held Kashmir. About 21 out of the 31 agenda items were covered during the over four-hour deliberations in the meeting presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by all ministers, advisers and Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah. The rest of the business was deferred to the next meeting.
Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho and the health secretary briefed the cabinet about the demands of doctors from BPS-17 to BPS-20. They said that monthly special health allowance of Rs10,000 to be given to the doctors of BPS-17 and BPS-18; Rs5,000 to those of BPS-19 and BPS-20 while health professional allowance had been enhanced from Rs23,851 to Rs28,472 for BPS-17; from Rs15,956 to Rs19,175 for BPS-18; from Rs15,935 to Rs19,100 for BPS-19 and from Rs15,961 to Rs19,192 for BPS-20 doctors. Every doctor would get two allowances, one professional and the other special healthcare.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the health department and Peoples Primary Health Initiative (PPHI), which expired on Dec 12, 2018, was also renewed on the request of the CEO of the PPHI which was managing 1,176 health facilities across the province with the support of the Sindh government. The cabinet also decided to conduct a third-party audit and sharing of the PPHI expenditures.
Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani told the cabinet that the mayor of Karachi had requested that the transformation of Karachi Medical & Dental College (KMDC) into a university was a long-standing issue as the KMDC was established in early 1990s with 50 seats for MBBS and 10 seats for BDS. It had now increased up to 250 MBBS seats and 100 for BDS with total strength of students at 1,650 while the KMDC had eight constituent teaching hospitals, including Abbasi Shaheed, KIHD, Sobhraj and others. The KMC Council and other forums had also approved resolution for transformation of the KMDC into an independent university, he said.
The cabinet approved the proposal and referred the bill to a committee comprising ministers of the local government, health, education and adviser to the CM Murtaza Wahab to improve the draft and send it to the assembly.
The meeting also approved the Aror University of Art, Architecture, Design and Heritage Sukkur bill which was already passed by the Sindh Assembly, but the governor had returned it twice when submitted to him. The CM constituted a committee comprising ministers of education and transport and adviser to the CM Murtaza Wahab to make necessary improvements in the draft and present it in the assembly.
The cabinet, as per directives of the Sindh High Court, approved establishment of safe houses for women in distress for their immediate rescue, safety and shelter from threats or security concerns on temporary basis in each district. However, the meeting was told by the social welfare department that district safe houses had been set up with DCs as heads of the committees for running them. The cabinet approved an amount of Rs5 million, including Rs3m for manpower and Rs2m for utilities.
The establishment of Occupational Safety & Health Council Sindh was also approved under the secretary labour as chairman and five government representatives.
The council’s functions include advice to the government on matters relating to the objects of different acts when referred and also to review legislation relating to occupational safety and health, make recommendations with regard to formulation and implementation of provincial policies and strategies relating to occupational safety and health.
In addition to this the council would facilitate cooperation between the government, employers, workers and any other persons or organisations engaged in occupational activities etc.
The cabinet also discussed the Supreme Court order regarding restoration of past glory of Karachi according to its original approved master plan.
The meeting was told that 924 residential plots were converted into commercial ones between 2004 and 2019. The KMC had demolished or sealed 142 buildings so far.
A cabinet committee was constituted comprising ministers of the local government, education, culture and transport to review the status of the establishments developed on the converted plots and asked to give recommendations to the cabinet within next 30 days.
The cabinet approved a proposal to procure M/s NESPAK for a third-party design review of the Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply scheme, K-IV project, and relaxed some rules to avoid further delay as per request.
Amendment in Land Revenue Act
On the recommendation of NAB Prevention Committee constituted by the NAB chairman to improve working of revenue departments, some amendments were approved. Section 52 of Land Revenue Act, 1967 was amended. Another amendment in Section 3, Section 2(c) of the Sindh Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was also approved.
The cabinet also authorised the CM to nominate the members of the syndicates of universities and board of governors where required, constitution of board of trustees of Sindh EOBI. The chief minister would appoint a board of governors for Cadet College Khairpur. The cabinet nominated commissioners of Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions as official members of the governing body of the Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2019