Sindh govt to reconstruct 150-year-old Marie Mata Temple on its site, PA told

Published July 19, 2023
A view of the site that earlier housed Marie Mata Temple in Soldier Bazaar. The room (right) where deities were relocated some years ago.—Online / White Star
A view of the site that earlier housed Marie Mata Temple in Soldier Bazaar. The room (right) where deities were relocated some years ago.—Online / White Star

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday was informed that the provincial government would rehabilitate and reconstruct the 150-year-old Marie Mata Temple in Soldier Bazaar.

Around eight years ago, in order to renovate the temple deities were moved to a nearby room on a storm water drain. However, last week the structure on the temple’s plot was demolished allegedly by a builder who wanted to construct a plaza there.

Furnishing a statement and replies to lawmakers’ written and verbal queries during Question Hour, Minority Affairs Minister Giyan Chand Essarani said that demolition of any temple was not permissible, and all such activities and construction work on the site of the 150-year-old temple had been halted.

“A team of the minority affairs department will conduct a survey of the site to prepare a report,” he said, adding that the department would reconstruct the temple on its site.

Minority affairs minister says demolition of any place of worship is not permissible

He said the woman residing on the premises claimed that her ancestors had donated their land for the construction of the temple and now she was raising her house on the site.

‘Flood-hit worship places being rehabilitated’

The minister informed the house that over 100 schemes had been incorporated in the budget for the rehabilitation of the minorities’ worship places damaged during the recent floods across the province.

Answering a question, he said that as many as 28 schemes for minority communities had been included in the budget for Umerkot as it was one of the most affected districts in floods.

He said that 40 schemes for the worship places of minorities were included for Karachi division, 28 for Mirpurkhas and 29 for Khairpur.

The minister said that almost 80 per cent schemes of the minority affairs department had been completed. “The department’s priority is to construct boundary walls around the graveyards of the minority communities,” he added.

He said the department was going to establish a hostel in Karachi for the girls belonging to minorities. “Such hostels would be established in all divisions of the province,” he added.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Rana Ansar asked the minister as to what steps were being taken for the repair of a 150-year-old Hindu temple in Umerkot.

“The temple is in a dilapidated condition and needs attention of the government,” she said.

The minister replied that the provincial government was already taking measures to uplift the worship places of minorities across the province. “Solar systems have also been installed in many temples across Sindh,” he added.

In reply to another verbal question by Grand Democratic Alliance’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi, the minister said that 90pc of the minority affairs department’s budget had been spent during the last fiscal year.

In reply to a supplementary question, Minister Essarani said that the department was also going to give scholarships to deserving students belonging to minorities through a Rs37.5m project.

Resolution for more power companies in Karachi opposed

Meanwhile, the provincial government opposed a resolution demanding induction of new power utilities in Karachi as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said the government was already willing to facilitate new companies for the purpose.

“As per Sindh government policy, every company or individual is welcome and whosoever wants to install power generating plants, we will definitely support him,” he added.

The minister said that recently PPP chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had performed the groundbreaking of the Dhabeji Special Economic Zone through which industrialists would be provided facilities.

Mangla Sharma of the MQM-P had moved a private resolution, demanding the Sindh government to approach the Centre for introducing new power generating and distribution companies in Karachi.

Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani asked her if she wanted the chair to put her resolution for a vote in the house or she would withdraw it.

The MQM-P MPA said that there was no point of pressing the resolution as it was bound to be rejected by the majority votes of the treasury after being opposed by the minister. She withdrew the resolution.

Her resolution read: “This house resolves that the Sindh government should approach the federal government to introduce more power generating and distributing companies in Karachi, which is an economical hub and the biggest city of Pakistan, so that the people could be provided electricity at low prices.”

Later, the sitting was adjourned to Thursday (tomorrow).

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2023

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