Sindh Cabinet okays Rs8bn plan to procure 250 electric buses for six cities

Published April 14, 2021
The cabinet approved the proposal and gave the go-ahead to the transport department to procure the buses. — File photo courtesy of the CM House
The cabinet approved the proposal and gave the go-ahead to the transport department to procure the buses. — File photo courtesy of the CM House

KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet on Tuesday decided to take the issue of the acceptance of the results of the 2017 census to the provincial assembly and approved procurement of 250 diesel hybrid electric buses for intra-district operation.

The meeting that started at 10am and concluded at 5pm was chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by provincial ministers, advisers, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and others.

Other items on the agenda were devolution of the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board to divisional level, withdrawal of the condition of producing Form VII to sell wheat to the food department and filing an appeal against a Sindh High Court decision under which regularisation of law officers and various others in grades 16 and 17 was declared illegal.

The chief minister told the cabinet that he had attended the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) through a video link on Monday in which Census-2017 was approved despite his dissenting vote.

Sindh govt to challenge SHC decision to declare illegal over 1,400 appointments in grades 16, 17

He added that he had told the prime minister that all the four provinces had serious reservations against the census and the exercise should be conducted afresh.

“The CCI since its inception has been taking consensus decisions, but this was the first decision which has been taken with a vote of dissent,” he told the cabinet and said that in such a situation he had to take up the matter in the Sindh Assembly.

The cabinet approved to take up the matter of the census in the assembly.

Intra-district transport project

Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah said that his department had a plan to procure 250 diesel hybrid electric buses under the Sindh Intra-District Peoples Bus Service project.

He said that the buses would operate in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad, adding that the transport and mass transit department had hired a professional consultant and the project would cost Rs8 billion.

The cabinet approved the proposal and gave the go-ahead to the transport department to procure the buses.

The chief minister said that he would provide necessary funds to the department for the purpose and termed it good news for the people of the six districts.

Wheat procurement

Food Minister Hari Ram said that the food department had started procurement of wheat from April 1.

He said that more than 60 per cent of the crop had been harvested in the districts of lower Sindh.

He said that the policy guidelines were causing a delay in procurement. He proposed to the cabinet to waive the condition of producing agriculture pass book/Form VII, saying the waiver would attract the grower to get bardana from the food department procurement centres.

He said that the provincial government was offering an “attractive” price of Rs2,000 per 40kg and the growers were not only very happy but inclined to sell their produce to the government.

The cabinet approved the proposal and waived the condition of producing pass book or Form-VII for getting bardana.

Draft bill to devolve solid waste body

Local Government Minister Nasir Shah presented the draft Sindh Solid Waste Management Act 2021, which envisaged creation of a solid waste management board at each divisional headquarters.

Each board would be headed by the commissioner of the division concerned with the mayor of the metropolitan corporation as member of the board.

A managing director would run the function of the board.

The cabinet approved the proposal and referred the matter to the assembly.

Zakat and Ushr Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal told the cabinet that retired Justice Ghulam Sarwar Korie, who was appointed as chairman of the Sindh Zakat Council for a period of three years in Nov 2018, had resigned.

On his request, the cabinet approved the resignation and appointed retired Justice Mohammad Iqbal Mahar as chairman for the remaining period.

The cabinet also approved an amendment in the Zakat & Ushr Act 2011 under which a retired judge of the high court, or a retired civil servant in BS-20 or above, could be appointed as the chairman of the Zakat Council.

The livestock department told the cabinet that Sindh was maintaining 44.782 million head of animals and added that despite huge numbers of livestock, per animal production was very low as compared to other developing countries and that was mainly due to poor genetic potential.

The cabinet was told that 120 motorcycles were required for technical staff. The cabinet approved the proposal and sanctioned an amount of Rs238m for purchase of motorcycles and other equipment.

Appeal against SHC verdict in regularisation case

The chief minister told the cabinet that the SHC had declared the appointment of around 1,400 employees in grades 16 and 17 in many departments as illegal.

He said that these employees were appointed without referring them to the Sindh Public Service Commission in 2008.

The cabinet after thorough discussions and deliberations approved a proposal to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision of the high court.

The chief minister told the cabinet that the sub-committee of the provincial cabinet on financial matters approved the proposal of the agriculture department for provision of Rs500m funds during the current financial year for repair and maintenance of watercourses damaged during last year’s heavy rains.

He said that he had released the amount of Rs500m.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2021

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