KARACHI - Sindh government on Tuesday decided to ban child begging in the province and directed the social welfare department to pick the children from signals and streets and rehabilitate them at their welfare centres.

The decision was taken in a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by provincial ministers, advisers, special assistants and Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah.

During the meeting, the chief minister and the members of the cabinet expressed profound grief on the death of two innocent children reportedly due to consumption of poisonous food. The chief minister directed the chief secretary to strengthen the food authority and start inspection of all the food outlets.

“I know our food authority is nascent but without special focus we can make it an effective organisation,” he said. Adviser on Law and Information Murtaza Wahab presented findings of his committee to the cabinet on the issue of beggary. The report says the so called beggars have also been seen with children who are either used directly or indirectly for beggary or are seen to be with some women or men who present themselves as child’s custodian.

It is a violation of Section 49 of Sindh Child Act 1955. The report also pointed out that in 2011, the Sindh Assembly had passed Sindh Child Protection Authority Act-2011 which called for ensuring the rights of the children in need of special measures and to provide matters ancillary thereto.

The chief minister in consultation with the cabinet decided to ban beggary all over Sindh and in the first phase the children being used as beggars have been banned completely. He directed the social welfare department to launch special drive against child beggary.

Murad directed to district administration and the police to help the social welfare department in the drive to be launched against child beggary and round up the child beggars and send them to sweet home and Street Children Centre Korangi where they would be rehabilitated. “I want to provide them shelter, food, sports activities and education so that they could be made useful citizen of the country,” he said.

He also directed the social welfare department to make Child Protection Authority as an effective organisation. “Helpline 1121 must be projected in the media so that common man could complain wherever the rights of a child are seen to be compromised,” he said.

Murad added in the next phase another effective and vigorous drive would be launched against beggary. “I don’t want to see any child stretching his hand for beggary at the signals and in the streets,” he said.

It was pointed out that Street Children Centre, Korangi was at the completion stage. The chief minister directed Minister Works and Services Nasir Shah to get it completed on war footings. By the time the picked up beggar children would be sent to sweet home.

WHEAT: The Sindh Cabinet has decided to dispose of its wheat stocks of 1,745,815 tones at a release price of Rs3315 per 100 kg jute bag and Rs3,250 PP bag and it would exert a Rs6.7 billion financial burden of subsidy on the provincial exchequer.

The chief minister had constituted a committee under Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and secretary finance and secretary food as its members to recommend issue price. The committee presented it report.

The report says that the stock position was 1,745,815 tones. The committee gave four options to dispose of the wheat. Under the first option Rs3400 per 100 bag (Jute) and Rs3,335 PP bag with a Rs5.904 billion subsidy burden.

Option-II was Rs3,350 per 100 kg bag of Jute and Rs3300 PP bag which would cause a burden of RS6.303 billion and third option was Rs3315 per 100 kg (jute bag) and Rs3,250 per 100 kg PP bag and it would cause a Rs6.761 billion burden of subsidy.

The cabinet was told that if the option three was approved the entire stock would be lifted by the traders. If the stock is left just to reduce the burden of subsidy then the additional expenditures of fumigation and proper storage would cause huge expenditures.

Moreover, the grain may be infested with weevil. Therefore, keeping in view the forthcoming wheat harvesting season, stock position and avoid other expenditures and circumstances the cabinet approved the third option under which Rs3315/100 kg jute bag and Rs3250 PP bag has been fixed as issue price.

SUBSIDY TO SNCPP: The cabinet discussed Tariff differential subsidy to Sindh New Captive Power Plants (SNCPP) threadbare. The cabinet was told that the government has received the claims of six SNCPP amounting to Rs2.3 billion.

The chief minister said that these six SNCPP were located in rural areas such Dadu, Shikarpur, Thatta etc and generating 103.7 MW power and feeding into the local grid. “How much impact it has made in the loadshedding in small districts like Shaikarpur.” At this Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikah said that there was no such apparatus to assess their impact.

The power they were generating was being fed in the national grid, therefore its assessment of its impact was quite difficult. The chief minister directed the minister to make arrangement to assess the impact on local loadshedding and report him.

He also said that the claimant NCPPS to furnish Chartered Accountant Certificate that all the subsidy claims were made in accordance with the act, rules, policy tariff, Nepra Tariff and other related regulations. The cabinet approved the subsidy of Rs2.3 billion and its disbursement would be made as per law.

WATER SHORTAGE: CM Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Water Ashfaq Memon told the cabinet that 38 percent shortage of irrigation water for current Rabi has been declared by IRSA. There were apprehensions of increase in the shortage.

The cabinet decided that comparatively higher supplies for sowing of what crop during month of November and December 2018. The supplies to be kept at minimum during last ten days of December to the end of January taking advantage of closures so as to have water saved for watering of crops February onwards.

The supply of water in the canals, branches, distributaries and minors would be made as per rotation plans prepared by the concerned regions. Provision of water for drinking purpose to ensured regularly.

The cabinet also approved amendment in the Zakat and Ushr law under which Karachi has been declared as city of six districts so that distribution could be made according.