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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah during a cabinet meeting held at CM House on Saturday took important decisions which included amendment in Police Rules under which an accused could not be arrested without credible evidence, handing over of four KMC hospitals to Health department and procurement of security featured Petro-reflective number plates for vehicles and reduced cotton fee from Rs 20 to Rs 10 per 100kg.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, advisors, chief secretary, chairperson P&D and concerned officers. Uplift Outlay 2021-22: Briefing about development budget outlay 2021-22, the cabinet was told that it has been pitched at Rs 329.02 billion which included Rs 222.50 billion provincial Annual development Programme, Rs 30 billion provincial ADP, Rs 71.16 billion Foreign Project Assistance, and Rs 5.36 federal PSDP grants.

The chief minister said that in the first quarter of the new financial year, 603 schemes of Rs 14.098 would be completed, therefore he directed the cabinet members to personally monitor the timely execution. He added that 269 schemes of Rs 19.572 billion would be completed in the second quarter of the financial year and 162 schemes of Rs 42.561 billion would be completed by the end of third quarter.

Murad said that 1,669 new schemes of Rs 83.716 billion have been launched, therefore the department must focus on them so they could be started well in time and completed accordingly. KMC hospitals: The provincial cabinet on the request of the KMC approved a proposal to take over four healthcare facilities of KMC, Gizri Maternity Hospital, Sobhraj Maternity Hospital, Gazdarabad General Hospital, District South and Landhi medical Complex District Korangi along with the staff and handed over to Sindh Health department for their efficient operation.

The KMC spent around Rs 800 million on the operation of these health facilities but due to financial issues it could not operate them properly. The KMC even could not pay salaries to the employees in time, therefore with the consent of KMC the cabinet approved to hand over these health facilities to the Health department to operate them at their full capacity.

Sindh CM said that the provincial government would not take Rs 800 million from KMC for running its hospitals but his government would give additional Rs 603.158 million to the Health department to operate the KMC hospitals to provide best health facilities to the people of the area.

The cabinet also directed the local government department to select more local bodies' health facilities particularly of district councils and such others so that they could be given to the health department for their proper operation.

Amendment in police Rules: The provincial cabinet on the recommendation of IG Police has approved an amendment in Police Rule 26 of Police Rules 1934 envisioning to stop police officers from making arrest of a person merely on account of registration of FIR. Now, after amendment, it provides for police officers to collect credible evidence of involvement of the accused in that crime and seek approval from the senior police officer beforehand.

This amendment would stop police from making unnecessary arrests of people. Reduction in cotton fee: The Agriculture department told the cabinet that the cotton fee has been increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 per 100 kg right from 2019. It was pointed out that the Punjab government was charging a cotton fee at Rs 10 per 100 kg. The cabinet after detailed discussion reduced the coton fee from Rs 20 to Rs 10 per 100 kg.

It may be noted that the Excise & taxation department collects cotton fee. Reflective number plates: The Excise & Taxation department gave a detailed briefing about the security featured Petro-reflective number plates for all kinds of vehicles to be manufactured by National Radio & Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC).

The cabinet, after thorough discussion and deliberation approved a proposal of the Excise department to negotiate with NRTC for procurement of security featured Petro-reflective number plates for all types of vehicles, including two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers.

The chief minister directed the Excise department to expedite the matter so that security number plates could be issued to the vehicles in the province. SST exemption: The cabinet was told that the NDMA has requested the provincial government to exempt the Storm Water Drain project from Sindh Sales Tax (SST). The SRB had worked out that the exemption, if approved, would be around Rs 1.2 billion. The cabinet opposed the exemption request on the pretext that it would set a new trend. Therefore, the chief minister proposed that the project was being executed in the city, therefore the Sindh government should pay the SST amount on behalf of the NDMA. The cabinet approved the proposal.

Graveyard: The cabinet after thorough discussions approved allotment of 10 acre of land to Masjid-e-Rizwan Trust for graveyard purpose at a rate of Rs 100,000 per acre at Deh Moach, taluka Mauripur, District Kiamari. The chief minister directed the local government department to work out a plan to establish an authority to allot lands to graveyards and regulate them.

Chinese Consulate: The cabinet on the request of the Chinese Consulate approved a proposal to hand over them a vacant plot of The Institute of Pakistan Tourism & Hotel Management, Sindh Culture dept, located adjacent to the Consulate. In exchange for the plot the Chinese Consulate has offered to give them a 2000 square yard plot to the Culture department. The cabinet approved the proposal.

Violence in hospitals: The provincial cabinet in order to provide protection to and prohibit violence against healthcare service providers and to prevent damage or loss to property in healthcare service facilities passed a bill "Sindh Healthcare Service Providers and Facilities (Prevention of Violence and Damage of Property) Bill 2021".

Union Councils: The local government department told the cabinet that the Karachi District Council has recommended to de-notify three union councils - UC Mowach, UC Gabopat and UC Lal Bakhar and declare them as union committees and make them part of newly created DMC Kiamari. The cabinet approved the proposal.

Chairman BISE tenures: On the recommendation of universities and Boards, the cabinet approved a proposal to allow chairmen Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (BISE), Hyderabad, Sukkur and Mirpurkhas to continue as chairman of their respective Boards till the regular appointment of the chairmen through search committee which was under process.

A similar decision was taken by the cabinet to allow Dr Faizullah Abbasi, Vice-Chancellor Dawood University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi to continue as vice-chancellor till the appointment of a regular vice chancellor. The cabinet approved an amendment in the Motor Vehicle laws under which the definitions of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor /way of operation of the BRT have been inserted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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