ISLAMABAD -  A parliamentary committee on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Planning to approve the PC-I for monitoring of the rise in sea level and the submerging of the precious land of Sindh and Balochistan prior the budget 2017-18.

Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms has also noted that it is the matter of grave concern that the increasing level of sea is a major threat to the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

The committee, presided over by Senator Col (R) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashadi, discussed the issue of sea intrusion in Sindh and Balochistan and reviewed the implementation status of the standing committee directives in this regard.

The committee also discussed the government failure in achieving various targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While showing concern over the failure of the targets under MDGs, he said that the money was spent but no progress was made and no target was achieved.

The committee chairman said that rich are becoming richer while nobody cares about the poor as they are becoming poorer. Poverty has increased and Pakistani people have been limited to one-time meal, he added. Ruling elites are enjoying to the outmost level while poor are living in miseries, he maintained. He said that that trillions of rupees had been spent but result was negative.

Regarding the indicators set under the MDGs, the official of the Ministry of Planning informed that MDGs was signed in 2000 and it was for 15 years. The MDGs has 18 targets and 48 indicators.

Only three out of 48 indicators were achieved, while 10 are on track, the official informed. The official also admitted that the government has failed in achieving any of the indicators regarding education, mother and child health.

It was informed that in 2000 when Pakistan signed MDGs, along with 189 other states, the poverty was 64 percent in the country which was reduced to 39 percent.

Every third Pakistan is poor and hungry, he said.

The number of poor is more in the rural areas as compare to the urban centres. According the World Economic Forum, the prices of agriculture commodities have been decreased in the country.

Senator Mohsin Leghari said that it is true that the prices of the agriculture commodities were decreased but the production cost has also increased at the same time. He said that it is matter of concern that money is being spent under MDGs but the targets are not being achieved. Senator Sirajul Haq has questioned that how many targets of the MDGs have been achieved so far and how much are yet to be achieved.

On the issue of sea intrusion, Senator Mashadi said that Makran Coast was facing severe erosion at number of places such as Damb, Shadi Kaur, Pishukan and Jiwani which needed immediate attention. He said that a subcommittee has prepared a good report regarding the sea intrusion but it was not executed. This issue belongs to the entire country as the precious land of Sindh and Balochistan is submerging under sea, he said.

Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja said that earlier the government had ensured to investigate the issue of sea intrusion but nothing was done. He said that recently, two kilometers area of Damb village of Balochistan came under the sea which indicates the sensitivity of the matter. Senator Karim Khwaja said that keeping in view the importance of the issue, the government should immediately execute the project.

The Planning ministry’s official informed that the steering committee that was formed under the chairmanship of Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology had already finalised the PC-1 with concurrence of all the stakeholders.

The committee was also informed that the submission of the PC-I was pending and as per requirement of Planning Division it needed to be endorsed by SUPARCO as one of the collaborators.

They informed that the Secretary Science and Technology had already written a letter to the SUPARCO chairman for expediting the submission of PC-I. The committee expressed its concern over the unnecessary delay in fulfilling the requirements by SUPARCO and recommended it to finalise its requirements within two weeks time.

The meeting was also attended by Senators Sirajul Haq, Mufti Abdul Sattar, Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail, Planning secretary and other government officials.