Kalabagh Dam is a ‘dead issue’, says Sindh CM | Pakistan Today

Kalabagh Dam is a ‘dead issue’, says Sindh CM

–CM Shah also opposes proposal for granting Pakistani citizenship to children of illegal immigrants

–Sindh govt cuts development budget by Rs26bn to meet cash shortage

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday said that Kalabagh Dam is a “dead horse” and no talks were held with the prime minister on issue.

While addressing a post-budget conference, Murad Ali Shah said that Sindh had only received Rs.49 billion from the federal government, which disrupted the budget of the province.

He said that Rs 50 billion were kept for new schemes, while Rs 26 billion have been cut. He added that the issue of transfers of officials from Sindh was raised before the prime minister as well, adding that officers of Sindh should be appointed according to the inter-provincials rules.

In response to a question, Murad said citizenship should not be awarded to illegal immigrants.

Responding to the announcement of Prime Minister Imran Khan to give Pakistani nationality to Afghani and Bengali nationals living in Karachi, CM Shah said that the move cannot be implemented as it doesn’t conform to the Pakistan Citizenship Act of 1951.

“Foreigners who came to our country illegally cannot be given Pakistani nationality as once an unlawful decision is made to this effect, it would open floodgates of illegal immigrants in the country,” said the Sindh CM. “I am very much clear about this issue, if such an announcement is unlawful, it could not be implemented as only lawful decisions regarding grant of Pakistani citizenship could be implemented,” said the CM on the occasion.

Regarding the PM’s announcement during his visit of Karachi on Sunday that he had asked Sindh government to do garbage lifting work in the city in two months, the CM denied that prime minister said any such thing like this when he met him during his stay here.

The Sindh chief minister said he avoids using luxurious cars and mocked the federal government, saying selling milk would be more profitable than selling off buffaloes at the PM House.

He said that decisions of present federal government including the auction of luxurious motor vehicles could not create lasting effects on issues related to governance and running affairs of the country. “Impact of such decisions could not go beyond a few months whereas the issues of governance are much complex where much stringent decisions have to be taken like the one taken by them regarding an increase in gas price,” he said.

The CM denied the impression that his government was not in the mood to adopt the austerity drive as being observed by federal government and was not willing to auction the fleet of surplus luxurious vehicles available with it. He said that his government would surely sell off such luxurious commodities which were more than ten years old as much expenses had to be borne on repair and maintenance of such vehicles.

The chief minister said that under the austerity measures of his government, there would be a complete ban on the purchase of new vehicles except those required for emergency and mandatory services like police vehicles and ambulances.

Presenting budget recommendations for the next nine months in the Sindh Assembly, Shah announced a cut in the development budget as well.

“The caretaker government had presented a budget for three months,” he said, adding, “We have curtailed the provincial development budget.”

Sindh CM said that his government had to reduce Rs24 billion out of Rs50 billion it had earlier reserved for new development scheme under its Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the current financial year 2017-18.

This decision had to be reached owing to short supply of due funds from the federal government. He said that his government had received Rs49 billion less on account of the federal transfer of funds till June 2018.

The CM said that the size of the district ADP had been increased from Rs30 billion to Rs35 billion in order to enable the elected local government representatives to implement development schemes at the grass-roots level.

“In the previous year, taxes of more than Rs598.9 billion were accumulated by the Sindh government as was the sales tax of Rs100 billion,” he elaborated. “958 schemes initiated as part of annual development programme will be completed this year,” he explained.

“Rs102.48 billion have been allocated for the Sindh Home Department and Rs2 billion for department’s development programmes.”

Murad said that Rs18 billion had been reserved for new development projects in the ongoing financial year as these included upgrading of Taluka hospitals in Umerkot, Mithi, and Kandhkot. He said that some 31 new trauma centres would be established in the current financial year in different parts of the province.

The chief minister said that under the new development schemes, an 87 kilometre-long coastal highway would be built to benefit the coastal towns of Sindh whose land got eroded due to sea intrusion.

He conceded that his government had much to do to improve government’s education sector in the province as at present several schemes were being completed to provide all the missing facilities at some 4,650 schools of the province that carried the burden of 80 per cent enrolment of students in the government-run schools in Sindh.

CM Shah said that government-run schools in the province were being upgraded with the aim to enrol more 550,000 children in the province to educate them.

The Sindh chief minister further assured that “we are taking measures for the improvement in the quality of life of common people.”

As the session started under the chair of the speaker, power supply was suspended of the house.

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