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LAHORE: Special Assistant to Chief Minister Hasaan Khawar has said that a neutral observer could help resolve water issues between Sindh and Punjab as the matter was not being resolved due to non-cooperation of Sindh Province.

While addressing the press conference along with Irrigation Minister Mohsin Leghari, the SACM emphasized that the government was fully focused to develop Punjab and pointed out the irrigation sector reforms were not done in the past 70 years. The four dams constructed in the PTI government would remind about the incumbent government as this infrastructure is more important than the 57 dams constructed during the last 70 years. The irrigation minister pointed out Punjab was the only province that was working on water development resources.

Giving the details, he said Punjab enjoys the world’s best irrigation system that irrigates 2.10 crore acres of land. He further said that the Jalalpur canal irrigation system is an important mega project as 117-kilometre long canal from Rasul Barrage in the Jehlum canal would irrigate 1.70 lakh acres of land in Pind Dadan (PD) Khan and Khushab. Meanwhile, the PTI government has completed important barrages restoration projects including Panjnad Barrage where work has been completed to irrigate 16 lakh acres of land in a better way, he said. The minister said that the Trimmu Barrage restoration project has been completed as well.

Meanwhile, work on the restoration of the Salam Barrage was in progress as 1.70 lakh acres of land would be better irrigated after the completion of this project. Alongside, the irrigation department was working on small dams in the potohar region including Dodhocha Dam which would provide 35 million gallons of water to Rawalpindi daily, he added. Meanwhile, the irrigation department has started working to implement the e-abiyana system across Punjab and the e-procurement system has also been enforced to ensure transparency in the contract rewarding process. The government has approved the Punjab Water Act 2019 to ensure improvement in water management, he added.

Mohsin Leghari disclosed that 27,000 water theft cases have been reported in the campaign against water theft. Around 2600 FIRs have been lodged and one thousand have been arrested, he added. He said the human resource management system has been enforced to digitize the irrigation department.

Replying to the media questions, the SACM vowed to maximum deliver in 2022. Sehat card is a ray of hope for people in 2022. This would maintain healthy competition between private hospitals while decreasing the load on government hospitals. The whole of Pakistan except Sindh would benefit from it as personal interest was a priority of Sindh rulers, he said. The Sindh rulers are oblivious to the plight of their people. Wheat is very expensive in Sindh as the ruling cabal in Sindh only thinks of itself. That is why Sindh is not self-reliant yet.

He advised Bilawal Bhutto to get Lahore domicile to benefit from Sehat card as it would sensitize him that the people of Sindh also need such a project there. He said the politics of PPP was in danger in Sindh and Bilawal should focus on his province because the people of Sindh would take revenge on PPP in the 2023 election. The PPP would also face defeat in Larkana.

He said Shehbaz Sharif is in trouble after giving the guarantee to his elder brother. The PML-N is hopeful of victory after the return of Nawaz Sharif but he would have to go to Jail after the return. The SACM advised Shehbaz Sharif to explain about 16 billion instead of political jugglery. The silence of Maryam Nawaz is meaningful but she realizes that they would not get anything.

The SACM said the government was focused to develop Punjab through long term projects and reforms. To a question, SACM said the situation of the corona was being monitored and vaccination was more focused instead of lockdown to keep the wheel of the economy running.

He said the ‘Bilal Yasin’ incident was being investigated and CM was monitoring it. After the incident, Usman Buzdar telephoned Bilal Yasin and ensured him a transparent investigation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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