KARACHI               -         The Sindh government on Monday approved a bill in the provincial cabinet aimed at reviving and regulating the students’ union in the province.

The decision was taken in the cabinet meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, also decided to fix sugar cane price, and allowing advocate general to approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan for payment of amount recovered from M/s Bahria Town.

The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, provincial ministers, advisors and concerned officers.

Students Union

The law department presented a summary saying that the chief minister had desired that the students union in educational institutions consisting of bona fide students to activate an effective system were to be regulated in the province. For the purpose the law was to be enacted in the subject matter to regulate the students unions in the province. CM Adviosr Law Murtaz Wahab presented a draft bill entitled “The Sindh Students Union Bill 2019.

The draft law says ‘The definition of educational institutions’ means an educational and training institution and includes a university, its constituent and affiliated institutions, a college whether in public or private sector.

According to the draft law, there shall be a student union in every educational institution consisting of bona fide students. The union shall consist of seven to 11 members elected by the students of the particular educational institution. The educational institution shall every year conduct the elections for the students unions.

The functions of the student unions shall include work for maintaining social and academic welfare of the students; ensure the rights and interest of all students are suitably represented; organise such social, cultural, intellectual or other extra-curricular events which help in forming a student’s personality and make them responsible citizen. Promote and strengthen relations between students and educational institutions, assist the educational institution in maintaining discipline and ensure the respect of teachers as well as staff of the institution.

The draft law says the students shall not indulge in any prejudicial activity in any manner. The law also proposes that the students shall not indulge in political activities. At this the members of the cabinet said that the college students were of 18-year age and they had the right of vote. How it is possible to stop a student eligible for casting vote but not involving political activities. The chief minister proposed the members to approve the draft law and refer to the provincial assembly for introduction and then sending it to the Standing Committee on law for further deliberations.  He also directed the law advisor to involve civil society, educationists and political scientists and civil society to seek their input and then make it most ideal law which must undo the shows of martial law from the educational institutions and allow the students to breath in healthy activities and flourish. The cabinet approved the bill and sent it to the assembly.

Sugarcane Price

The agriculture department requested the cabinet to fix sugarcane for year 2019-20. The Minister Agriculture Ismail Rahu said that the sugar price in the market has increased from Rs60 per kg. The price of input of sugarcane has gone up.

The chief minister said that the minimum price must reasonable be reasonable which not only enable the growers to extract their investment with a reasonable profit, otherwise the trend of not cultivating sugarcane would develop among the growers.

The cabinet after thorough deliberations fixed the minimum price of sugarcane at Rs192 per 40 kg for crop season 2019-20. The cabinet also approved quality premium at the rate of Rs0.50 (fifty paisa) for 40 kg to be paid by sugar mills to cane growers at the end of crushing season. The crushing season for year 2019-20 started from November 30, 2019.

Cash Freight

The agriculture department told the cabinet that Pakistan Sugar Mill Association (PSMA) had approached the federal government for allowing them to export surplus sugar stocks and demanded grant of cash freight support of Rs20 per kg due to low prices in the international market. The federal government allowed export of four million tons of sugar. The state Bank allocated a quota of 1.700 million tons and cash freight support of Rs10.7 per kg on export of sugar was granted to be equally shared by the federal and the provincial governments.

The provincial cabinet had approved the proposal and the now the Sindh government has to pay Rs3.393 billion as its share for payment to state bank against the claim of cash freight support. The cabinet approved the release of funds subject to the clearance by the NAB which has initiated an inquiry into the matter.

Bahria Town payments

 The cabinet took the issue of the payments deposited by M/s Bahri Town in the Supreme Court against the land of over 16,000 acres. The cabinet members said that the M/s Bahria Town agreed to pay Rs460 billion for the land of over 16,000 acres in Karachi. A par agreement Bahria Town had to deposit Rs25 billion in Supreme Court of Pakistan on August 27, 2019 and from September Rs2.5 billion as monthly installments.  In this way the M/s Bahria Town must have deposited around Rs35 billion in the Supreme Court.

The cabinet directed Advocate General Sindh to file an application in the Supreme Court with the request to release the amount collected so far and to be collected as per schedule to Sindh government so that it could be utilised for water sector projects.

Draft Prison Rules

The Home department presented draft rules for Sindh Prison & Correction Services Act 2019. Under the proposed rules, confining of all prisoners in safe and secure custody whilst ensuring their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution.

The rules calls for assisting the welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into the society as law abiding citizens through provisions of reformation programmes. All sentenced prisoners must participate in reformation process . An environment would be created in which prisoners would be able to live with dignity and develop the ability to lead a socially responsible and crime-free life and such opportunities would be made available to all prisoners.

The rules call for early release of elderly prisoners, male 65 and female 60, who completed half portion of substantial imprisonment, at par with international standards.  

University of Art

The University & Board department told the cabinet that Center of Excellence of Art & Design and Heritage Jamshoro was working under the control of Mehran University which needed to be upgraded as a university. The center has its own building and necessary staff therefore, it may be created as Shaheed Allah Buksh Soomro University of Art, Design and heritage Jamshoro Act, 2019.

The cabinet approved the proposal and referred it to the assembly. 

WATER AGREEMENT

The energy department told the cabinet that the Sindh government has initiated power project for generation of 1320 MW from Thar Coal Field Block-I and responsibility of provision of clean water has been streamed lined by the government.

The construction of canal from Makhi Farash to Nabir Sar was in progress. The phase-II Nabisar to Vajhiar through pipeline has to be started. The distance is around 65 kilometers.  The cabinet was told that A Kuwitin Company has offered to invest $130 million to lay the line within a year so that Chinese company could complete its project in time.

The cabinet, in principle allowed the energy department to sign the agreement on the condition the Kuwaiti Company, a government company, would completed the project within a year. The energy minister said that by the end of this week he would meet the management of the Kuwaiti Company and get the assurance.

Exemption

The Energy department requested the cabinet to approve the exemption of collection of Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) and Workers Profit Participation Fund (WPPF) from Thar coal and power projects as Thar has been declared as Special Economic Zone. The Minister Labour Saeed Ghani opposed the proposal saying that the funds meant for workers and laborers could not be exempted. The chief minister and other cabinet members said that the provincial government was in agreement with the investors in Thar that they would be given incentives, therefore Thar being he special economic zone has the status of certain exemptions..

The chief minister constituted a committee comprising Minister Labour Saeed Ghani, Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh and Advisor law to sit together and resolve the matter and bring it back in the next cabinet.

Forest Land for Gas Line

Minister Forest Syed Nasir Shah presented two different items saying that SSGCL needed 15 acres of Reserve Forest Land tor carrying out drilling activity in order to explore oil and gas in the area of Larkana for a period of 15 years. He requested the cabinet to issue NOC for land for SSGC for well Jatoi-01.

He also put up another request of SSGCL to allow it to lay a gas pipline from Ayesha Gas Field to MV Golarchi, eight-kilometer forest land. The chief minister directed secretary Forest to quote the law under which he was seeking the approval.  Since the law he was quoting were not relevant, therefore the chief minister directed forest department to explore the relevant law under which forest land could be given for commercial purposes and bring the matter in the next cabinet meeting.