• PM says past govts ignored development of the province
• Federal ministers hold provincial govt responsible for food inflation
• PPP spokesperson says Sindh is the only province providing free treatment for cancer, heart and kidney ailments
ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Friday criticised the Sindh government for ‘poor governance’ with ministers holding it responsible for food inflation in the country, as Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed the Centre would uplift 14 districts under the Rs444 billion Sindh Development Plan.
Minister for Food Security Khusro Bakhtiyar said Sindh was the hub of fertiliser hoarders, whereas Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar in a press conference condemned the Sindh government for food inflation.
However, Pakistan Peoples Party that rules Sindh slammed the federal government for criticising the provincial government.
While chairing a meeting to review implementation of the development plan, the prime minister said the federal government would prioritise uplift of 14 Sindh districts.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers Dr Fehmida Mirza, Asad Umar, Hammad Azhar and senior officials.
Mr Khan said the objective was to improve socio-economic status of residents of the province. He directed that priority be given to less developed and rural areas of Sindh to ensure prosperity. He regretted that the previous governments had ignored the development of Sindh.
While calling for transparency, quality of work and adherence to timelines while implementing the development plan, the PM asked the relevant departments to fast-track work on Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway and construction of sports complexes in Badin, Ghotki, Thar, Mirpurkhas, Tando Mohammad Khan, Hyderabad and Sanghar.
The development plan includes projects related to roads and motorways, housing, information technology and telecom, water resources, health, higher education, vocational training, disaster management, railways, energy and establishment of sports facilities.
The meeting was informed that the Sindh Development Plan comprised 48 Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects, 50 non-PSDP projects and seven public-private partnership projects.
The government approved 26 new PSDP projects and allocated financial resources for the fiscal year 2021-22. The Planning Commission had authorised Rs16.304 billion for eight federal government divisions and organisations.
Meanwhile, the state minister for information blamed the Sindh government for rise in food inflation in the country, alleging that the “Sindh government has left the people of the province at the mercy of mafias”.
He said when sugar price went up to Rs150 per kilo, the Sindh government stopped supplying sugar cane to mills and later blocked stocks of sugar from reaching the markets. He said prices of food and grocery items were still higher in Sindh as compared to other provinces.
In response to the criticism, PPP spokesman Faisal Karim Kundi wondered: “Why does Imran Khan worry so much about Sindh?”
He claimed that Sindh was the only province where free treatment was being given for cancer, heart ailments, liver and kidney ailments.
Mr Kundi said the biggest trauma centre of the country was also functioning in Sindh. “If nothing is being done in Sindh, then why do people from across the country travel to Sindh to avail free medical treatment,” he questioned.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2021