KARACHI            -         Sindh Assembly on Monday demanded the provincial government talk to the Centre for the forensic audit of K-Electric (KE), and ask it to end prolonged loadshedding in Karachi.

Muhammad Hussain Khan of Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s Parliamentary Leader Mufti Muhammad Qasim Fakhri, in their joint resolution, also criticised the power utility for resorting to hours long power outages in the city.

Initially, the lawmakers in their resolution had asked the federal government to revoke the K-E’s licence too, but later amended the resolution’s draft after intervention by MQM-P member Khawaja Izharul Hassan, who argued, “Since there is no other power supplying company in the city, and thousands of people depend on it for their livelihoods, that’s why revoking its licence would further increase miseries for the Karachiites.”

He also moved another resolution and demanded the Sindh government approach the federal government for allowing other power utilities to work in Karachi as well so that this could lead to competition amongst the companies, and eventually consumers benefitting from it.

In yet another resolution, MQM-P’s Muhammad Hussain Khan asked the federal and provincial governments to reduce taxes on solar energy equipments since people’s lives had been made miserable by power utilities. All resolutions were adopted unanimously.

Wearing masks at public places made mandatory:

The provincial assembly unanimously passed ‘The Sindh Covid-19 Emergency Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2020’, making it mandatory for all to wear facemasks at public places for a prescribed period of time to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The bill also urged government departments and private organisations to approve paid-leave of employees infected with the deadly virus. “Any employee at any department or firm who tests positive for Covid-19 shall be allowed paid-leave for the period he remains in isolation and he shall follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as prescribed by the Health Department,” reads one of the clauses of the bill.

It also asked the government to provide financial assistance to the daily wagers who tests positive for the virus and follow the SOPs during the period of isolation.

During the proceedings, The Sindh Safe Cities Authority Bill, 2019, The Sindh Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation And Management Bill, 2020 and The Drugs (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2020 were also passed.

‘46 buildings declared unsafe’

Separately, the provincial assembly was informed that as many as 46 buildings had been declared unsafe/dangerous for human habitation in District Central of the provincial capital.

Speaking on behalf of the local government minister, Parliamentary Secretary Salim Baloch while giving breakup said that there were two such buildings in New Karachi, three in North Nazimabad, nine in Gulberg Town and 32 in Liaqatabad Town.

He was replying to lawmakers’ written and verbal queries during the Question/Hour session in the House.

Baloch said that expulsion notices had been issued to the occupants of these buildings and such information was also published in newspapers.

He further said the Sindh Local Government Act-2013 had granted to the province sufficient financial autonomy, and the provincial government was working on introducing more reforms and bringing more improvements in it.

He was of the view that two laws – Sindh Local Government Ordinance-2001 and SLGA-2013 – could not be compared with each other because the former had an entirely different foundation as it attempted to bring all government departments in the district under the command of Nazim. “The system had failed, prompting all the four provincial governments of the country to refuse to continue and enact new laws,” he added.

To a question by Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Syed Abdul Rasheed, the parliamentary secretary said it was not true that thousands of criminals had been appointed in the local government department.

To another question by PTI’s Adeeba Hasan, Baloch said that some private agencies were doing bottled water business in Karachi. “There is no policy under the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to issue them licences”, he said, adding that the policy in this regard was being formulated on the orders of the Supreme Court.

In reply to a question by MQM-P member of Sindh Assembly Muhammad Rashid Khilji, Baloch said that a scheme had been got approved by the competent authority under which the sewerage system in Taluka City area of Hyderabad would be improved at the cost of Rs414.140 million.

He added that the Sindh government had released Rs25.88 million for the project, out of the total amount allocated for the purpose.