KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed the provincial health department to remove all doctors working as project directors on various projects. “This is not their job; their job is to serve the ailing people of the province. Let them do their work.”

He said this while presiding over a meeting on health department here at Chief Minister’s House on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mendhro, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Additional Chief Secretary (Dev) M Waseem, Health Secretary Fazal Pechuho, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Naveed Kamran Baloch, Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi and others.

Briefing the chief minister, Mendhro said the health department had a development portfolio of Rs14 billion. He said that overall there were 146 development schemes, including 89 ongoing schemes, worth Rs14 billion. He said that Rs5,245.374 million funds had been released. Expenditure stands at Rs1,677.873 million, he said.

Giving the breakup of the schemes, Health Secretary Fazal Pechuho said there were 22 schemes worth Rs2,154.94 million that had been prioritised and they would be completed by end of this financial year. He said the finance department had released Rs2,154.920 million and Rs252.774 million had been utilised. He said the remaining amount would be released shortly.

He said there were 65 other schemes worth Rs6,985.331 million and Rs3,680.677 million had been released for them. He said the expenditure stood at Rs1,396.724 million. In addition, he said, there were two foreign-funded schemes worth Rs228.499 million against which the government had released Rs66.765 million. He said the expenditure stood at Rs28.375 million.

Pechuho said there were 57 new schemes worth Rs4,631.250 million against which Rs21.250 million had been released. He said the new schemes were in the approval phase therefore there was no expenditure on them.

The chief minister expressed his displeasure when he was informed about the slow pace of work on six schemes in Karachi -- Rs149.467 million cardiac emergency centre in Baldia Town, Rs162.477 million Services Hospital improvement project, Rs4.059 million upgrade of Chemico-Bacteriological Lab, Rs317.8 million project of ancillary and other services at NIPA, Rs196.642 million Central Blood Bank project and Rs199.771 million upgrade of three maternity homes at PIB Colony, Soldier Bazaar and Patel Para.

The chief minister said it was quite surprising for him that doctors had been made project directors and assigned administrative jobs.

“This is an injustice to them and their profession. You have taken them away from their profession assigned them the work they are not trained to do,” he observed. He directed the health minister and secretary to put up proposal for doctors’ removal from various projects.

The chief minister expressed his dismay when he was told that some healthcare schemes in Malir had not been taken up because their design approval was pending with the Designs Director General of the Works and Services Department. “I cannot give time to any person who has no dedication, devotion and love for his work,” he said.

He directed the chief secretary to call all officers of the Works and the Services Department as well as the health department on Wednesday morning at 8am. “I want to have a meeting with them on Wednesday morning to see where the problem lies,” he said. He asked the chief secretary to send the officials home if they could not work with devotion and honesty.

Shah said that he was not happy with the development endeavour of the health department. “I will take strict action if officials of the health department failed to mend their ways,” he warned.

He left the meeting without concluding it and summoned the officials to another meeting today (Wednesday) at 8am to review the development work.