SUKKUR                   -                  The Sindh Coronavirus Emergency Fund Committee, headed by Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, on Thursday sanctioned Rs 30 million for setting up 300-bed Field Hospital at PAF Museum Karachi.

The committee also approved Rs 720 million out of the Emergency Fund for purchasing laboratory equipment, PPEs, machinery and other required medical equipment while Rs 500 million out of the health department’s budget for upgrading various public sector hospitals across the province, said a press release here on Thursday.

The Finance Secretary briefed the committee about details of the fund collection. According to him, Rs 3.5 billion had so far been collected as Coronavirus Emergency Fund.

The number of private donors was one thousand. He told that overseas Pakistanis had donated Rs 14.6 million through the I-Care and the names of all the donors were displayed on the website of Finance Department.

The Health Secretary informed that delivery of medical equipment including Personal Protection Equipment ordered by Sindh Government had started.

The committee decided to write to the FBR for exempting the Coronavirus Emergency Fund from Sales Tax, Income Tax and Withholding Tax.

The Chief Secretary directed for carrying out transparent audit of all the equipment purchased through the reputed audit firms and ensure proper and transparent delivery onward to the hospitals through the Chief Minister’s Inspection Team. He also sought detailed reports in this regard in the next meeting.

Workers in rural Sindh hardly get Rs 6000 pm

The workers in agriculture, farms, and brick kilns across rural areas of Sindh hardly receive Rs 6000 per month against Rs 17,500 minimum wage promised by the Government of Sindh for unskilled workers in 2019.

These views were expressed on the occasion of International Labour Day, by President, Hari Welfare Association (HWA) Sindh Akram Ali Khaskheli, in a statement on Thursday.

The HWA grieved that young people without employment, education and skill improvement opportunities were compelled to work around fourteen to sixteen hours at grocery shops, restaurants, and workshops just for Rs 5000 per month in rural parts of Sindh. Of these workers, women and children are at the lowest ebb to receive the wages.

The HWA President said that the Sindh Industrial Relations Act of 2013 had mistakenly recognized rural workers and peasants, and provides them to form unions. Still, no step had yet been taken to ensure the unionization of such workers.

In 2019, the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers Act (SWAWA) was enacted, but the law had become dormant like any other law enacted.

The HWA said like any other law, implementation of the SWAWA was significant to protect rural peasant and worker women from abuse, exploitation, marginalization and discrimination under the patriarchal, feudal and tribal society. The HWA has called for need to ensure that Rs 17,500 wags is given to all workers.

Mechanisms should be introduced and implemented by increasing the number of labour inspectors and labour courts so that rural workers too could form their unions to bargain and protect their rights as per labour rights laws, the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the Hyderabad Development Authority (HDA) has claimed that the water supply and drainage works are being hampered in Hyderabad due to 4 to 8 hours ongoing load shedding being carried out by Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO). The HDA’s spokesman Nadeem Yousuf informed here on Thursday that despite the lockdown situation and holy month of Ramazan the HESCO was carrying out 4 to 8 hours outages amid hot weather as well. “The Water and Sanitation Agency is facing hardship in maintaining continuous supply of water and draining out the city’s sewage,” he observed.

He informed that at the various water filtration plants and drainage pumping stations the power supply on April 29 remained suspended for 4 to 8 hours.

“If the water supply or drainage pumping are suspended for even few minutes, it takes hours to restore the routine flow,” he said.

Take notice of the load shedding problem the Commissioner Hyderabad division Muhammad Abbass Baloch also held a meeting with the HESCO officials at his office here Thursday.

The commissioner asked them to address the problem keeping in view the holy month of Ramazan and the lockdown situation.