KARACHI    -     roceedings of the Sindh Assembly took an ugly turn on Friday when lawmakers of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came face to face yet another time in the ongoing session.

The opposition members, except those associated with the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, were protesting after they were not allowed to move a resolution over HIV and AIDS issue before start of the assembly business. Despite Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuhu’s assurance that she would answer every query of the opposition members after completion of the assembly business, PTI members kept protesting. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Grand Democratic Alliance also took part in the protest.

Everything appeared to be smooth before PTI lawmakers , including opposition leader Firdaus Shamim Naqvi, gathered at the secretary’s rostrum. They displayed placards inscribed with different slogans. In the meantime, Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani marched towards Naqvi and snatched a placard from his hand. PTI parliamentary leader Haleem Adil Sheikh and PPP’s Mumtaz Jakhrani pushed each other but they were separated by members from both sides.

Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuhu said that she was ready to respond to queries of the members but added that the house business should be taken up first.

The situation irked Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani who said this was not the right way of protest. “The assembly has been turned into a fish market. They want me to run the house according to their wishes but I don’t take dictation from anyone,” he added. Durrani said that he would allow every member to speak but after completion of the agenda. He asked the protesting members to let call attention notices put up by different lawmakers be taken up first.

The opposition leader said the number of HIV cases had risen considerably and this issue in itself is the biggest call attention notice. He asked the chair to allow them to move a resolution but to no avail.

Amid opposition’s protest and hullaballoo in the house, Ghulam Qadir Chandio of the PPP, who was convener of the select committee, presented a report on The Sindh Prisons And Correctional Facilities Bill, 2019 followed by its consideration. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mukesh Kumar Chawla presented the bill, which was passed unanimously.

Later, the house was adjourned till Saturday at 2:30 pm.

‘HEALTH MINISTER SHOULD STEP DOWN’

Talking to the media after the assembly session, PTI parliamentary leader Haleem Adil Sheikh demanded that the health minister step down in the wake HIV cases. He also demanded imposition of emergency in Sindh to curb the spread of AIDS.

He said that HIV/AIDS cases were being reported quite frequently in Larkana and spreading to other cities of Sindh. “The government of Sindh has failed to provide health facilities to the masses. A lack of medication in Taluka Hospitals, BHUs, rural health centres and district hospitals of Sindh deprived people of health facilities,” he said.

Sheikh said the AIDS virus was already present in Sindh and there were more than 15,000 patients of AIDS. In recent days, he said, 11,000 people tested in Tehsil Ratodero district of Larkana and 547 people were found HIV positive. He said that a big number of children was among the infected people. The situation is annoying and other cities in Sindh like Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Dadu, Sanghar, Jacobabad, Nawabshah and Khairpur are also at high risk, he said.

Auction for collection of royalty on minerals delayed

Sindh Minister for Mines and Mineral Development Mir Shabbir Bijarani on Friday informed the assembly that auction for collection of royalty rights on minerals in different districts of the province was delayed because the parties interested in mining wanted revision of the price for auction that was increased by 20 percent.

Furnishing replies during the session, the minister said the auction for collection of royalty rights on certain minerals in districts of Karachi, excluding District Malir, Dadu, Jamshoro, Khairpur, Sukkur, Kambar-Shahdadkot and Thatta was advertised and the same was published in leading newspapers on Aug 14 and 15, 2018 on approved reserved prices by the Price Fixation Committee.

However, he said, no bids were received against the reserved price, except for Kamber, as the interested parties contended that the reserve price was high and submitted joint applications requesting that the reserved price for auctions for the year 2018-19 should be fixed same as was in 2017-18.

The minister who was replying to a question asked by Grand Democratic Alliance’s member Arif Mustafa Jatoi, said that later auction for collection of royalty rights was held after codal formalities on the reserved price.

Giving details, Bijarani said that the reserved bid price for auction for collection of royalty rights was Rs52.8 million in Karachi, Rs93.72 million in Dadu/Jamshoro, Rs74.412 million in Thatta, Rs43.68 million in Khairpur, Rs68.1 million in Sukkur and Rs1.22 in Kamber.

In reply to a question by Pakistan Peoples’ Party member Surendar Valasai, he said the provincial mines and mineral development department had granted 81 mining concessions for the salt lake in Thar. He said 33 leases for mining had expired.

To a question by MPA Rana Ansar, the minister said that two out of eight crushing plants were in working condition. He said that four of them were not in working condition, while two others had been removed.

He said that crushing of stone is a mineral dressing process and the mines and mineral development department was not competent to accord the permission for the crushing plant.

In reply to another question asked by Munawar Ali Wasan, the minister said that  fine out of total cement factories in the province were functional.

 

 

 

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