Sindh Assembly initiates post-budget debate

g House restricts its proceedings on receipts, revenue, capital expenditure

KARACHI: Sindh Assembly (SA) initiated debate on post budget 2013-14 and the House restricted its proceedings to the discussion on ‘receipts, revenue and capital expenditure and development expenditure’.Members were of the view inadequate funds were kept for the development schemes and even those funds could not be spent properly and fully.They said if development schemes could not be completed in their due course of time besides no improvement in education and health sector was seen. Members praised initiative taken by House regarding debate on post budget. According to new SA rules House is bound to debate on on-going budget after every three months.Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPA Muhammad Hussain suggested a committee of Assembly members should be formed to monitor the development schemes in the province.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sikandar Mandhro told the House Sindh got Rs 45 billion from the Centre for the development schemes but the funds were not enough. However PPP government provided sufficient funds. He said proposals would be sought from the members for next annual budget 2014-15.PML-F MPA Mehtab Akber Rashi said education was our main basic sector. That is why largest amount of budget was kept for this sector. Why it was not spent. MPA Mahesh Kumar Malani said Sindh has spent more funds on development schemes in proportion to Punjab.MQM MPA Waqar Hussain Shah said although funds were released for development schemes but no work was initiated yet. PPP MPA Khurshid Junejo said shortfall in Sindh budget was increasing continuously. Ninety percent funds were not utilised. MPA from PPP Dr Sohrab Sarki said although caretaker government made ongoing budget but through better monitory arrangements people’s government took the province out of crisis.PPP MPA Ghazla Siyal said Sindh government put special attention to law and order in the budget. In the result the law and order situation was relatively better. The debate would continue on Friday when House would meet again.The House unanimously passed the resolution regarding Sindh Home Based Workers (HBWs) Policy 2014. MQM MPA Irum Azeem Farooque tabled the resolution while more than 10 members signed it. The resolution said, “This Assembly resolves provincial cabinet approve the Sindh Home Based Workers Policy 2014 by recognising the rights and importance of HBWs in the economy and labour market and necessary legislation be made to protect, promote and encourage HBW across the province. It is necessary HBW should be given access to domestic as well as international market to uphold the basic spirit of dignity of work.Apart from discussion on budget, chewing gum, Chalia (betalnut) and toffees were also remained under debate. Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf members exchanged harsh words on chewing gum and wearing jeans in the House.PPP MPA Sohrab Sarki objected Khurram Sher Zaman coming in jeans and chewing gum in the House. Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro said if betalnut and other food items were not allowed in the House then chewing gum should also be prohibited. Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon was of the view there was objection on wearing jeans but chewing gum should not be allowed. The situation compelled speaker Shehla Raza to finally intervene by closing the address system. The House finally banned the entry of all food items and water bottle the Assembly.Sharjeel Memon said there was no truth in reports Centre has Rs 56 billion dues over Sindh in terms of electricity. Bills regarding Rs 56 billion are false. Speaking to media before the session he said if Rs 56 billion were rechecked, there would be less than 25 percent of the total dues. He said there was corruption and incompetence in billing by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). In Larkana when a bill of Rs 100 million was crosschecked the real amount came out was only Rs 0.6 million, Sharjeel said.He was of the view WAPDA was busy in over billing in government departments. There are no meters installed for streetlights. In this regard WAPDA is sending bill on its own will. WAPDA wanted to impose its incompetence and deficit on the masses as line losses were being imposed on masses, added minister.It is being said power cuts are being done on the directives of Prime Minister. People are being deprived of electricity in such a hot weather, he stated.We do not want to derail the federal government. In fact we are cooperating with them against the conspiracies being hatched.Centre does not give due share to Sindh. Even Centre was indebted of Sindh. Sindh does not get its due share despite being highest number of taxpayers’ province. He said the federal government used to claim eliminating power crisis before elections has actually eliminated the power from the country. He said if Supreme Court was defaulter on electricity then under which law its electricity was restored within fifteen minutes after disconnection. It proves federal ministers were working on the basis of liking and disliking.Law and order in Karachi has been brought under control to major extent. Police and Rangers were busy in raids on daily basis and nabbing target killers and culprits.In response to a question he said federal government should be asked about the presence of Pervez Musharraf in Karachi because there was some contact between Pervez Musharraf and the government. He said, “Federal government was working on a deal with Musharraf”.

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