KARACHI   -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday said that the federal government was not serious in running the constitutional bodies which was evident from the fact that the prime minister left National Economic Council (NEC) meeting without getting the PSDP approved and the next day the national media carried the news that the PSDP was approved.

He was addressing a press conference here at Committee room of Old Assembly Building. He was flanked by Sindh PPP President Nisar Khuhro, Minister Excise Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Advisor on Information Murtaza Wahab and Advisor on Jails Aijaz jakharni.

The chief minister said that the NEC was a 13-member constitutional body headed by the prime minister and constitutionally it has to meet twice in a year. It was first meeting of the year and the next meeting has to be convened. He said that the federal government presented a five-year plan in the NEC meeting and with its presentation the prime minister loudly said approved. “At this I told him that neither the plan has been shared with the province and nor comments or suggestions have been heard in the meeting how it could be approved,” he said and added that how the national issues were being handled at the federal level.

Murad recalled that he had written a letter to the prime minister with the request to directed NHA to expedite work on Rs14 billion dualisation of Jasmhoro-Sehwan road for which provincial government has already released its Rs7 billion share to NHA. The prime minister directed his state Minister Murad Saeed to settle the issue. When Murad Saeed came to Karachi he told me to meet him in Governor’s House. “I told him to come to CM House but he did not bother to visit CM House and then he was promoted as full-fledged minister,” he surprised. 

Speaking about Karachi Circular Railways, the chief minister said that the Railways authority had given undertaking to the Supreme Court that they would start local train within 15 days. Contrary to it the railways minister was saying that the Sindh government would operate the local train. “The railway is a federal subject and in the past it was the railways ministry which used to operate local train in the city,” he recalled and questioned that the provincial government has bogies and engines how it would operate local train.

Murad said the provincial government had been pressing the federal government to award the same concessions to KCR which it had given to Orange Line in Lahore. “We are ready to launch KCR project as it was approved in CPEC projects but due to federal government’s reluctance it is still hanging in balance,” he lamented.

Talking about MQM-P ministers, the chief minister said that one of these ‘sophisticated’ ministers was misguiding the prime minister on legal and constitutional issues. He said that not a single penny in Karachi package has been released so far. “These nafees representatives of Karachi were deceiving their constituents,” he said.

“The solution of Pakistan’s dropping down recoveries was with the Sindh government. I have advised the federal government to give collection of sales tax to the provinces. Yes, we are ready to start collection on behalf of the federal government and deposit it in the national exchequer but their [fed govt] policy is very simple don’t work and do not let other work,” he added.

He was of the view that the federal government unleashed an obscure policy of PSDP in which location of the schemes was not reflected, as a result the provinces could not calculate their share. “In the last NEC meeting held in March 2018 I had raised this issue and it has been recorded in the minutes also but again has not been implemented so that the province could not raise their voice,” he said.

Shah said that the federal government refused to finance Makhi Rarash Link Canal Project for supply of water to Thar Coal. “They [fed govt] are saying that it was a province-specific or localised project-which is a big joke, this is a national project from where electricity was being produced to the entire country,” he lamented. He added that the federal government has launched a number of localised projects in South Punjab, KPK and Balochistan.

Giving a an examples, the chief minister said that the federal government launched Dual Carriage way from Sui to Kashmore- this just touched Kashmore and could not be categorised as National Project but the federal government was financing it.

Murad said that Sindh’s overall share in the federal PSDP has remained less than 11 percent annually and now it has been reduced to 7 percent. He added that the allocation for 2019-20 was just Rs47.53 billion which constituted seven percent of the PSDP allocations.

The chief minister said that he had had a video conference with federal Minister Mr Khushro Bakhtiar and told him that some important schemes of water, road network and Higher education must be included in the next PSDP. He added that the federal minister has assured him that some schemes such as Sukkur Barrage rehabilitation, Coastal Highway, S-III and some others would be included in the PSDP.

He said that bridge financing amount for urban Water Supply Scheme Nawabshah Phase-V filtration Rs299.710 million and construction of Roads in Hyderabad district under Hyderabad package Rs175.864 million must be provided to Sindh government in PSDP 2019-20. He added that work on Sukkur-Hyderabad corridor of CPEC has not been started.

The chief minister said that HEC’s total on-going schemes for Sindh were 15 with a cost of Rs16.83 billion against which only Rs2.39 billion have been allocated in 2019-20.

He said that some Higher Education Commission’s schemes such as establishment of Center of art in Mehran University another scheme of Tando jam have been deleted.

Murad said that the Prime minister during his visit to Karachi on March 30, 2019 had announced a Rs162 billion package with 10 projects of public transport and seven of water and sewerage, a university at Hyderabad and RO plant for Thar for Rs1 billion. He also disclosed that apart from 36 on-going schemes the federal government has also deleted another 31 new schemes from its next PSDP.

He said that in the next budget the federal government was going to imposing heavy taxes which would further increase poverty ratio in the country. “In such circumstances the provincial government has worked out a poverty reduction programme under the banners of ‘Peoples’ promises’ to be launched by Chairman PPP in the next budget,” he disclosed.

HIV

Talking about outbreak of HIV cases In Larkana district, the chief minister said that it was a serious issue and the provincial government had taken it seriously. “We are establishing an Endowment Fund for the purpose and have started investigations to unearth the reason of its sudden outbreak.

Murad urged the media not to disclose the names of the HIV positive patients. “This attitude will lead to social problems and being a society, we should focus on their rehabilitation instead of making their lives miserable,” he said and also urged politicians to avoid doing politicize this issue.

He said it was PPP’s federal government which took revolutionary measures such as changed criteria in NFC award and also gave award, passed 18thamendment, increased salaries of government employees by 150 percent, released all political prisoners, demonstrated political tolerance, improved over all foreign policy and stabiles national economy. “Only PPP is capable to run federal government,” the chief minister concluded.