KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday urged the World Bank to allow the provincial government to utilise $11 million saved from different projects for installation of an oxygen plant and procurement of other Covid-19 related equipment.
This he said in his meeting with a Bank delegation led by country director Najy Benhassine.
The chief minister said the coronavirus pandemic had become a serious issue.
“We have established a separate hospital, Institute of Infectious Diseases in Karachi and decided to establish similar facilities at all divisional headquarters,” he said.
Mr Shah said that there was a dire need to establish an oxygen plant in Sindh to ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen.
“Requirement of oxygen has increased many times, and we plan to install an oxygen plant to cater to the needs of Covid patients,” he said.
“The provincial government has also planned to procure 500 more ventilators for Covid-19 related hospitals,” he said.
More funds to be released for Sukkur Barrage rehabilitation project
The provincial government has saved around $11m in different World Bank-funded projects.
The World Bank country chief said that the Bank supported Covid-19 emergency and the request of the Sindh government was legitimate and would be considered.
The chief minister said that Sindh Barrages Improvement Project to rehabilitate and modernise Sukkur Barrage had been launched with the assistance of the Bank.
He said that there were five components of the project, replacement of six gates of the barrage and associated works for which work was awarded to M/s Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works Ltd in 2019 for Rs16.7 billion.
He added that 66 per cent physical and 64pc financial progress had been achieved.
He said that two gates of the main barrage and hoisting system had been installed and commissioned.
He said that installation of one gate was under process and the remaining three gates would be installed by September.
“The scope of the project includes repair of structures, embankment and surface protection, foundation inspection and repairs, building works, instrumentation and monitoring, electrical and mechanical works, CCTV and installation of communication systems,” he added.
The CM said that the second component ‘Restoration of Sukkur Barrage’ would cost around Rs15,675 million.
He said that its pre-qualification documents were opened in January 2021 and work would be awarded in October 2021.
The chief minister said that the third component was dredging and excavation of the barrage for Rs2,012.5m.
He said that the fourth was procurement of dredger for Rs150m, desilting of Right Bank canals for Rs1,868.2m and construction supervision consultants for rehabilitation and modernisation of the barrage for $4m.
The meeting agreed to release more funds and start work on other components which have been delayed due to Covid-19.
The chief minister said Sindh Agriculture Growth Project had been launched in 10 districts — Hyderabad, Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Naushahro Feroze, Khairpur, Sukkur and Larkana — with $30.7m cost with objectives to improve the productivity and market access of small and medium producers in important commodity value chains.
The chief minister told the Bank team that the project team had achieved 98pc of targets assigned to them.
He said that 153 Milk Producer Groups (MPGs) had been formed in 153 villages of 10 districts of Sindh.
He said in order to improve animal production and capacity building of 5,753 MPGs members, trainings, visits, workshops and seminars were also arranged.
He said that under the project animal production was increased up to 28.6pc.
“Of the 153 MPGs, 149 have been helped with constructed chiller rooms and installation of milk chillers with allied equipment where the dairy business is being carried out at village level,” he added.
As far as the market linkage of these collection points is concerned, Mr Shah said that it had developed with sale points of nearby towns. “Additionally, 40 milk sell points/outlets were opened by MPG farmers at nearby towns at their own expenses where they are selling their MPGs collected milk and milk by-products at optimum costs,” he said and added in these rural areas, the farmers were now receiving 60.6pc more cost of milk as compared to earlier (before project).
The meeting was told that first-ever Artificial Insemination (AI) Training Centre was established under the project at Agriculture University Tandojam where 762 AI technicians were produced against the target of 760.
It was further informed that 550 AI technicians were equipped with AI kits and liquid nitrogen gas containers to carry out AI services throughout the province.
Besides, two Semen Production Units (SPUs), at Karachi and Rohri, have been renovated and strengthened for production of semen doses, which has reduced the need for purchase of semen doses from other provinces and import of exotic semen doses.
Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2021