MITHI: Riaz Ahmed Siddiqui, secretary of implementation, services and general administration department, has reprimanded officials for poor service delivery in Thar and directed them to ensure provision of quality healthcare facilities, open reverse osmosis plants shut down by striking workers and set up stalls across Thar to distribute subsidised wheat flour to people.
Siddiqui, who was convener of a committee formed by the Supreme Court to monitor and assess situation in Thar in the wake of natural calamities, arrived here on Thursday along with other members of the committee including Mirpurkhas Commissioner Abdul Waheed Shaikh, Dr Sono Khangharani and Thar DC Dr Shahzad Tahir Thaheem and held meetings with officials concerned at deputy commissioner’s office.
He urged officials provide maximum facilities to Thar in the light of orders of the apex court. The officials attended the day-long meeting and presented performance reports before the committee.
Tharparkar district health officer Dr Irshad Memon informed the committee that infants’ death ratio saw 39 per cent increase due to various reasons in the previous year. A total of 11pc (832) children died in six facilities across the desert district, he said.
He said that 47pc of all hospital-reported deaths were caused by respiratory distress and severe infection as a consequence of preterm low birth weight and home-based deliveries. “Tharparkar is a region where centuries-old tradition of child marriage and aversion to birth spacing or controlling are still very much alive,” he said.
Wants RO plants opened, stalls for subsidised flour set up across Thar
Siddiqui directed the DHO to ensure purchasing required medicines and providing free ambulance service to people of the district, especially in Mithi Civil Hospital.
He expressed concern over performance of the public health engineering department and directed the officials to put to use all waterworks, including costly reverse osmosis plants, by clearing dues of the private firm, which ran them.
He was irked by a report that work on the pipeline for supplying canal water to Nagarparkar and other areas of Parkar region had not yet been completed and asked the PHED officials to speed up the work. No excuse would be accepted in this regard in next meeting, he said.
He stressed that it was duty of the department to immediately provide safe drinking water to over 1.7 million population and asked them to take up the issue of payment to the firm before the high-ups so that the operators could receive salaries at the earliest.
Siddiqui directed officials to ensure protection of the RO plants during boycott by workers and ordered registration of FIRs against those, who were found involved in tampering with the plants’ machinery.
He voiced anger over existence of closed schools across the district and took notice of steep rise in flour price in the desert district. Food officials as well as Thar DC should ensure sale of flour at Rs42 a kilo as fixed by the government, he said.
He directed the DC to set up centres across Thar to provide subsidised flour to people, and asked officials of irrigation department to complete construction of small dams for storing rainwater in Parkar region.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020