KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to beautify and develop Nahr-i-Khayyam as a recreational point where people could enjoy themselves with their families.
This was one of the decisions taken by the Sindh cabinet which met here on Monday. The meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, also endorsed its earlier decision to enforce a complete ban on manufacture, sale, purchase and use of non-degradable plastic bags except with a weight of six to 28 grams of 30 to 40 microns from Oct 1 (today).
The decisions included the recovery of revised tariff of service charges of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) from 2016, and formation of a committee for the removal of difficulties in the implementation of certain provisions of the revived Police Order 2002.
After the meeting, Information Minister Seed Ghani briefing the media said that the cabinet also approved various measures related to Sindh Bank, including a new business viability plan for 2019 to 2020 and also to provide the remaining Rs8 billion out of the Rs14.7bn capital plan to meet the State Bank requirement.
The draft bill for the establishment of The Sindh Rescue Services 1122 was also discussed and a committee was formed comprising the health minister, the adviser on law and the advocate general to revisit the draft law and make it a regulator organisation.
Restriction on plastic bags comes into effect from today
The chief minister, while giving approval for signing an agreement with a private party to beautify, modernise and develop Nahr-i-Khayyam, said that this would be a gift to the people of Karachi and it would be for families to have picnic and enjoy sailing in beautiful boats; for literary people to enjoy their reading material and for youngsters to enjoy different flavours of coffee at the bank of beautified Nahr-i-Khayyam.
Presenting an agreement for developing Nahr-i-Khayyam as a recreational point to be signed between the Sindh government and a group of nongovernmental organisations with the abbreviation of PANI, led by leading architect Shahid Abdullah, Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah sought approval of the cabinet.
The development of Nahr-i-Khayyam would cost about Rs1.5bn, to be financed by PANI, while the Sindh government would construct a conduit at a cost of Rs50 million to segregate and ensure smooth sewage flow.
Nahr-i-Khayyam runs from the Gizri crossing up to the sea.
The cabinet was told that for the last few years sewage had been discharged into the channel for its disposal into the sea. Solid waste was also disposed of along the banks of the channel.
The cabinet was informed that after a meeting with PANI, a draft agreement was proposed under which a park/recreational place would be developed and adopted by the NGO on the area with Nahr-i-Khayyam on the north and service lane on the south from Khayaban-i-Saadi to Khayaban-i-Iqbal.
The tenure of the adoption of land would be 30 years.
Under the proposed agreement the park will not be used for any political activity and the title of the land will remain with the Sindh government. The adopted park area will not be used for any commercial activity, except for tuck shops etc and the height of any structure will not be more than 15 feet.
Ban on plastic bags
Adviser on Environment Murtaza Wahab on a query told the chief minister that a complete ban on manufacture, sale, purchase and use of non-degradable plastic bags of all sizes had been imposed with effect from Oct 1, 2019. He said that only oxo-biodegradable plastic/shopping bags of different sizes, 10 into 14 to 30 into 40, with a weight of six to 28 grams of 40 microns to 30 microns, single side would be manufactured, sold and used.
The CM directed his adviser to meet manufacturers and sellers and take them into confidence for the enforcement of the ban.
The cabinet directed the KWSB to implement water and sewerage service charges/tariff as had been approved by the government in 2016.
The KWSB has implemented the enhancement of nine per cent of its tariff for consumers of all categories.
Arms licence fee
On a request of the home department the cabinet approved enhancement of fees of gratis arms licence (non-prohibited bore) from Rs1,000 to Rs2,000 to meet the expenditures of scanning, lamination, printing, electricity, stationery, software development consumed in issuance of such computerised licences.
New police law
The home department told the cabinet that after the revival, the Police Order, 2002 was currently in field. With the revival of the law, certain new actions were to be taken such as framing of rules, issuance of regulations, executive orders, carrying day-to-day activities related to field operation etc in conformity with new law. There may be certain provisions in the act on which the office of IGP and home department or any other stakeholder might differ on their application/implementation/interpretation which might cause difficulties in giving effect to the provisions of the Police Order.
The chief minister constituted a committee under the adviser on law with the advocate general, prosecutor general, home secretary, finance secretary, secretary (I&C) S&GAD and IG police as members for the removal of difficulties.
Sindh Bank new CEO/president Imran Samad gave a presentation to the cabinet on a new business plan under which 20 new branches would be opened. The cabinet approved the bank’s business viability plan for 2019-20.
The cabinet approved an amendment to the Sindh Higher Education Commission by replacing the word ‘secretary’ with ‘executive director’ in different sections of the act of 2013.
The other decisions include provision of 35 cusecs of water to power companies in Thar Block II from Makhi-Farash Canal through pipeline from Nabisar to Vajihar till the LBOD supply system was made functional.
The cabinet also revisited the draft bill for the establishment of the Sindh Rescue Services 1122, draft rules of the Sindh development and maintenance of infrastructure cess. The cabinet formed a committee to revisit the rules of the Sindh Livestock Breeding Service Authority, authorised Minister Nasir Hussain Shah and Adviser Murtaza Wahab to talk to the IBA-pass teachers to redress their grievances and also to resolve the issue of boycott of OPD staff in the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and losses of the KMDC teachers.
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, all provincial ministers, advisers and relevant officers, such as IGP Dr Kaleem Imam, Advocate General Salman Talibuddin, the prosecutor general and others.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2019