HYDERABAD: Retired Justice Maqbool Baqar, caretaker chief minister of Sindh, has said that he has issued directives to the departments concerned to remain prepared for general elections so that “it is easier for us [to go to the polls] if the Election Commission of Pakistan announces polls date”.
“Whenever we are asked we will provide full assistance to ECP for polls and logistics including transport and security affairs in a satisfactory manner,” he said.
The chief minister was speaking to journalists after presiding over a meeting of divisional administration at Jamshoro deputy commissioner’s camp office in Sehwan on Saturday. Earlier, he inspected ongoing rehabilitation work at Manchhar Lake and its canals.
He said that work on delimitations was about to be finalised and responded smilingly to a reporter who asked about the final election schedule. The question should be put to the ECP, he said.
Tells media directives issued to departments for logistic, security and other arrangements
He said that work on Sukkur-Hyderabad (M-6) section of motorway should be restarted and urged the federal government to begin it on the sections where land acquisition issues had been settled amicably.
“The construction of M-6 had been stopped when the land acquisition scandal surfaced. But the issue has been resolved by a commissioner-led committee through digital survey,” he said.
Earlier at the meeting, Hyderabad Commissioner Khalid Hyder Shah briefed the chief minister about progress on M-6 and said joint surveys and fresh demarcations with digital coordinates had been completed and now work on only Matiari portion remained.
The CM directed Chief Secretary to talk to the federal government and get the suspended work on M-6 resumed.
He directed the divisional administration to focus on facilitation in elections and step up drive against theft of electricity, hoarders and profiteers.
He asked police to ensure elimination of gutka and mainpuri in entire division and DIG Tariq Dharejo said he had shown zero tolerance for drug trafficking.
Chief Engineer Irrigation Sukkur Barrage Sardar Shah informed the CM about Sukkur’s barrage command area and drainage network. Recurring flood devastations were a direct result of climate change, hill torrents, water from Kirthar Range, Koh-i-Suleman and highest rainfall recorded in 62 years and a non-functional RBOD-II exacerbated the problems.
Reconstruction of flood-hit houses
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sindh Peoples Housing for Flood Affectees (SPHFA), Khalid Shaikh, said that 596,793 women were verified and of them 121,817 were widows, 34,382 were elderly, 4,250 women had husbands with disabilities for whom 600,000 houses would be completed by June 2024.
The chief minister visited Wali Gaincho village where 60 houses were being built and handed over sanads (proprietary documents) to flood victims at a ceremony held at Sehwan fort.
He went to Rural Health Center in Arazi village and expressed displeasure on shortage of life-saving medicines and inspected 2.4kms road connecting the Wali Gaincho village to the highway and 3.2km under-construction road from Ghulam Nabi Chhuto village to Hadi Bux Chhuto village.
CM inspects Aral Wah regulator
The chief minister visited Aral Wah head regular where he called for further improving quality of ongoing rehabilitation work at the lake.
He advised raising height of Flood Protective embankment. Water from hill torrents upstream Manchhar travelled along the FP bund before ending up in the lake.
He was informed that the regulator connected with the lake was being redesigned with enhanced discharge capacity.
He was briefed about redesigned tail regular of Danister Canal and its revised discharge capacity. He also went to Syed Abdullah Shah Institute of Medical Sciences where he was shown around emergency, ICU, ventilators, and four operation theatres. He paid his respect at the shrine of Qalandar Lal Shahbaz and laid a wreath on the saint’s grave.
Published in Dawn, September 24rd, 2023