• Plan to link KWSC, other municipal bodies with provincial water resources management dept
• Draft immunisation bill binds parents of unvaccinated persons to bring them to vaccination centre in time

KARACHI: The provincial cabinet on Saturday approved the Sindh Water Policy (SWP) to provide clear directions for use of surface water and groundwater to meet the current and future demands of the province.

The framework of the new policy will guide the decision-making of the provincial government, local governments and water users in their management and use of water resources including surface water, groundwater, and wastewater.

According to the water policy, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation (KWSC) and other municipal corporations in the province would be linked with the Sindh Water Resources Management Department (SWRMD) to manage supply of water and recovery of water charges.

The cabinet was informed that industries consuming water shall be provided a framework to deliberate and get allocated the water for their production needs. The water allocations to the canal system of Sindh protected under the Water Apportionment Accord 1991 will have the priority.

Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro, who presented the new policy before the cabinet, said that the objective of the policy was to provide clear directions to the provincial government on the ecologically sustainable management and development of the provincial water resources from all sources of water, which included surface water, groundwater, and wastewater.

He said that the specific objectives of the policy were to slow and halt or reverse the processes of degradation of water resources (surface and groundwater) and rehabilitation of the Indus delta.

The irrigation minister told the cabinet that the water policy would ensure the long-term sustainability of the ecosystems’ ecological support characteristics. “It will also maintain the full range of beneficial uses of water resources and maximise the economic benefit to the canal command or river basin, province, and the country,” he added.

Mr Shoro said that the policy framework was designed to establish the objectives and principles for the management of basins covering all sources of water and all sub-sectors of water usage.

The cabinet discussed the policy in detail and approved it.

Approves draft immunisation bill

The cabinet approved the draft Sindh Immunisation and Epidemic Control Bill 2023 aimed at preventing and controlling epidemic diseases in the province through immunisation and vaccination.

Under the draft bill, the parents or guardians of unprotected persons are responsible to bring them to vaccination centre in time to be vaccinated as per provided schedule.

It says that if the local authority finds that an unprotected person or parent or guardian has contravened the provisions of the draft law, it shall deliver a notice to such person, parent or guardian requiring him/her to comply.

“If the notice is delivered to the unprotected person, his parent, or guardian and is not complied with, the local authority shall report to the Magistrate of the First Class, for punishment as per provided under the Act in case of noncompliance thereafter,” the draft bill read.

MoU with Iranian varsity

The cabinet was told that an academic delegation from the Zahedan University of Medical Science (ZAUMS) recently visited Karachi. During the visit, they signed three separate memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the provincial health department, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and Aga Khan University.

The cooperation areas of the MoUs included the exchange of students, faculty, and researchers for academic and cultural enrichment.

The cabinet was told that the health department would conduct a short training course on entomological surveillance of dengue fever vectors for the entomological expert delegation from ZAUMS.

Medical doctors and specialists with experience in the treatment of patients with dengue fever will conduct a training workshop on the diagnosis, treatment, and nursing care of dengue fever in Zahedan, Iran.

Considering the high incidence of beta-thalassemia in Sindh and the success of the thalassemia disease control program in Iran and the successful activity of the prenatal diagnosis laboratory (PND) of ZAUMS, an expert team from the provincial health department would visit ZAUMS in order to exchange experiences and explore areas for cooperation regarding beta thalassemia control program in Iran.

The cabinet approved the MOUs for materialising its cooperation.

The cabinet approved Rs6 billion grant for the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences and appreciated the services of Dr Bhatti, the executive director of the institute.

Published in Dawn, July 23th, 2023

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