KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has urged the World Bank to allow the provincial government to utilize $11 million saved from different projects for installation of an oxygen plant and procurement of other COVID-19 related equipment.
This he said in his meeting with a World Bank delegation led by Mr Najy Benhassaine. The other participants of the world bank were Amena Raja, Abed Alrzak Khalil, Waleed Anwar and others were on video link from Islamabad. The chief minister was assisted by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, provincial minister and chairperson P&D and secretary finance.
The chief minister said that the pandemic of COVID-19 has become a serious issue, therefore preparedness to provide proper healthcare should be accordingly. “We have established a separate hospital, Institute of Infectious Diseases’ in Karachi and have decided to establish similar facilities at all divisional headquarters,” he said.
Shah said that there was a dire need to establish an oxygen plant in the province so that uninterrupted supply of oxygen to the healthcare facilities could be ensured. “Due to different waves and variants of COVID requirement of oxygen has increased many times, therefore we plan to install an oxygen plant to cater to the needs of COVID patients,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah also said that there were only 668 ventilators in different government hospitals. “Due to COVID emergency the provincial government has planned to procure at least 500 more ventilators for COVID related hospitals,” he said and added the provincial government has saved around $11 million in different World Bank funded projects.
“If these funds are reappropriated for establishment of an oxygen plant and procurement of COVID related equipment and gadgets,” he said. The World Bank country chief said that the bank supported COVID-19 emergency and the request of the Sindh government was legitimate and would be considered favorably.
The Chief minister said that Sindh Barrages Improvement Projects to rehabilitate and modernize Sukkur barrage has been launched with the assistance of the world bank. He said that there were five components of the projects, replacement of six gates of the barrage and associated works for which work was awarded to M/s Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works Ltd in 2019 for Rs16.7 billion.
The CM talking about the progress of the project said that 66 percent physical and 64 percent financial progress has been achieved. He said that two gates of the main barrage and hoisting system have been installed and commissioned. Installation of one gate was under process and the remaining three gates would be installed by September. The scope of the project includes repair works to structures, embankment and surface protection, foundation Inspection and repairs, building works, instrumentation and monitoring, electrical and mechanical works, CCTV and installation of communication systems.
The second component `Restoration of Sukkur Barrage’ would cost around Rs15,675 million. The chief minister said that its prequalification documents were opened in January 2021 and work would be awarded in October 2021.
The third component is dredging and excavation of the barrage for Rs2,012.5 million. Fourth is procurement of dredger for Rs150 million, Desilting of Right Bank Canals and canal desilting works for Rs1.868.2 million and construction supervision consultants for rehabilitation and modernization of the barrage for $4 million.
The meeting agreed to release more funds and start work on other components which have been delayed due to COVID-19. Sindh Agriculture Growth Project Livestock Component: This project has been launched in 10 districts- Hyderabad, Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Naushehroferoze, Khairpur, Sukkur and Larkana for $30.7 million with the objectives to improve the productivity and market access of small and medium producers in important commodity value chains. And, strengthening public sector institutions to enhance the enabling environment for sustained sectoral growth.
The chief minister told the world bank team that he project team has achieved 98 percent of targets assigned to them. He added that 153 Milk Producer Groups (MPGs) have been formed in 153 villages of 10 Districts of Sindh.Mr Shah said that in order to improve animal production, the capacity of 5,753 MPGs members built through three trainings, visits, workshops and seminars were also arranged.Under the project Animal production is increased up to 28.6 percent due to capacity building of farmers on improved animal husbandry practices and extensive animal health as well.
Of the 153 MPGs, 149 have been facilitated with constructed chiller rooms and installation of milk chillers with allied equipment. Where the dairy business is being carried out at village level. As far as the market linkage of these collection points is concerned, Murad Shah said that it has developed with sale points of nearby towns.
Additionally, 40 milk sell points/ outlets were opened by MPG farmers at nearby towns at their own expenses where they are selling their MPGs collected milk and milk bi-products at optimum costs, eh said and added in these rural areas, the farmers were now receiving 60.6 percent more cost of milk as compared to earlier (before project). NNI