KARACHI    -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that groundwater in entire Sindh has become contaminated and he is in touch with experts and donor agencies to stop the rot.  He said his government was launching water supply and drainage schemes in rural areas of the province and a plan was being developed to restore the groundwater quality. “Manchhar Lake has become the largest reservoir of contaminated water in the province. We are working on a plan with World Bank and European donor and expert agencies to restore the past glory of Manchhar Lake,” he said while presiding over meetings on development projects for the next financial year.

PHE DEPARTMENT

A Public Health Engineering Department meeting was attended by Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani, Chairperson of P&D Naheed Shah, PHE Secretary Roshan Shaikh, Local Government Secretary Khalid Hyder Shah, Finance Special Secretary Asif Jahangir, P&D Member (Services) Fatah Tunio, PHE Department chief engineer and other concerned officials.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that groundwater all over Sindh, except a few districts, used to be sweet and fresh but with the passage of time its quality deteriorated. As a result, he said, the government had to switch over to RO plants to meet the need of drinking water in rural areas. “The actual solution of the problem lies in adopting a scientific approach to improve the quality of groundwater for which I am working with the World Bank and other agencies to launch a comprehensive plan to refresh and revive the aquifers,” he said.

Shah said the PHE department was most important in terms of its services of providing efficient water supply and drainage schemes in rural areas of the province. “I want the department must complete its on-going schemes so that people could take benefit out of them and plan launching more schemes in other or leftover villages,” he said.

PHE Secretary Roshan Shaikh told the chief minister that in the next financial year 169 schemes, including 96 on-going and 169 new would be completed with an estimated cost of Rs26.7 billion. He added that the schemes to be completed, include 39 on-going water supply and 57 on-going drainage schemes during the current calendar year. The new 28 water supply and 15 drainage schemes would also be completed in the next financial year but in the current calendar year.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Minister for Local government Saeed Ghani told the chief minister that during the current financial year his department would be completing 100 schemes of Rs13.5 billion. The chief minister said that in the next financial year he would give some important schemes to Karachi that include roads, flyovers and beautification of important places. He also said that the rural areas of Karachi would also be given importance in the next ADP.

EDUCATION

Presiding over a meeting of the Education Department, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was told by Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah that there were 9,600 shelterless schools in Sindh. Of them, only 71 units have 100 enrolments.  On this, the chief minister said that shelterless schools which have about 40 enrolments should be shifted to a nearby government school. “The school, which has less than 40 students cannot be termed as [shelterless] school, therefore such schools may be deleted from the list of shelterless schools,” he said.

The chief minister also directed education department to focus on teachers training programmes.  “Our teachers must be well-trained so that their teaching skills can be developed,” he said. Taking another decision, the chief minister directed education department to reconstruct 160 dangerous school buildings. “Some schools buildings have become too old, therefore their reconstruction or revamping must be made,” he said.

WORKS & SERVICES

The chief minister in another meeting of Works & Service department was told that there were 349 schemes, including one new of Rs33.5 billion against which Rs26.5 billion have been released and 90 percent utilization of the funds released funds have been made.  Works & Service Minister Syed Nasir Shah said that out of 348 schemes, 326 were of highways, 14 of Thar Coal – the road schemes transferred by Thar coal to works department, three transferred by Special initiatives department and six of buildings were in progress. He said that out of 349 schemes, 108 schemes, including one of the building would be completed by the end of current financial year and the remaining would be done during the next financial year. 

IRRIGATION DEPARTMENT

The chief minister was told that 56 schemes of Rs18.1 billion would be completed by the end of current financial year.

To a question, Minister Irrigation Syed Nasir Shah said that the some of the schemes to be completed were construction of Recharge Dam across Angai-II Nai located in the Central Kohistan, construction of three Recharge Dams Dilan, Naig and Mazarrani Recharge Dam in upper Kohistan area, construction of two small dams at Acar Salar Goth Bin Qasim, construction of Stone pitching/ retaining wall of Rohri Cnal near Ranipur, construction of bridge over LBOD main Sim Nala and construction of drain from Haji Ali Ahmad Mahri to T.M. Khan and various others. The chief minister said that he would pay surprise visit to some of the schemes after approval of the budget.