Sindh Cabinet approves handing over Indus Delta to a private firm for 60 years

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The private firm would launch $25m wetlands ecosystem service project on PPP mode in Delta area falling in Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts

Karachi: Sindh cabinet, which met here with Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in the chair on Tuesday at New Secretariat, decided to revegetate degraded wetlands to provide full spectrum of wetlands ecosystem services for benefit of poverty-stricken coastal communities through Public Private Partnership (PPP) by investing $25 million.

The cabinet meeting was attended by all provincial ministers, advisors, acting chief secretary Mohammad Waseem and other concerned officers.

Minister Forest & Wildlife, Nasir Shah briefing the cabinet said that ‘Blue Carbon’ is the carbon stored and sequestered in costal ecosystem such as mangrove forests, sea grass meadows, intertidal salt-marshes or wetlands. These valuable ecosystems hold vast carbon reservoir; they sequester atmospheric CO2 through primary production, and then deposit it in their sediment.

The cabinet was told that the blue carbon was found in the soils or sediments beneath the vegetation. These degraded wetlands, if properly re-vegetated have the potential to provide full-spectrum of wetlands ecosystem services for the benefit of poverty-stricken coastal communities and the provincial government.

Secretary Forest Rahim Soomro said that Public Private Partnership was the only way forward for rehabilitation and restoring these vast chunks of degraded wetlands in the Indus Delta Area. At this the chief minister said that budgetary and techno-managerial constraints in revegetating these areas could be addressed through private sector partnership. He directed the forest department to start work through PPP mode.

Minister Nasir Shah said that a private firm has already shown its interest. They have committed to develop and sustainably manage the wetlands in due recognition of their social, economic and ecologic significance, including carbon sequestration and storage.

The private firm has proposed a Sindh Blue Carbon Initiative (SCBI) to be implemented over 0.20 to 0.25 million hectares of Indus Delta land falling in Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts. The proposed project period is 60 years which may be extendable upto 100 years. The project would cost around $25 million.

The Fisheries Minister Bari Pitafi told the cabinet that there were 33 illegal jetties, including 12 in Ibrahim Hyderi, five at Mauripur, six at Thatta, Badin, Sakro and Gharo and 10 in Balochistan Coastal Belt. These jetties were being managed by influential people and charging Rs.100 to Rs.5000 from every boat. Thus they were causing loss of around Rs4 to 5 billion to the government.

The chief minister directed the fisheries department to make necessary arrangements for installation of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) in phases.

Necessary amendment would be made to regularize the illegally developed jetties so that they could be managed by the government instead of private people.

The Sindh cabinet observed that after the passage of 18th Constitutional amendment the assets of PTDC should have been devolved automatically. The PTDC has 8 kanal dilapidated Motel at Hawks Bay, 32 acres land at Sukkur, 9 Kanal at Hyderabad, Tourism Facilitation Center Karachi, Motel at Moen-jo-Daro, Tourism Information Center Thatta and 6 Kaanal land at Bambhore.

The cabinet decided to write a letter to the federal government to transfer the assets and meanwhile maintenance of these assets would be looked after by the provincial government.

The Minister Labour Saeed Ghani presented draft Sindh Occupational Safety & Health Rules, 2019 framed under the act of 2018. The rules have 26 sections in which workers, labourers and agricultural workers have been included. The employers have been bound to provide neat and clean atmosphere in their establishments and adopting safety and security measures, including installation of illuminations, ventilation, maintenance of temperature, noise control, dust control etc.

The cabinet approved the rules and directed labour department to implement them in true letter and spirit.

Minister Labour Saeed Ghani requested the cabinet to exempt all the shops and other commercial establishments from registration fee under Ease of Doing Business Reforms.

The cabinet discussed and decided to exempt all the shops and such other commercial establishments from registration fee all over Sindh. However, the shops would have to get them registered through business portal free of cost.

The health department told the cabinet that Regional Blood Center (RBC) Jamshoro was being operated by Indus Hospital with attached seven Blood Banks, LUMS Hospital Branch Hyderabad, DHQ Matiari, Civil Hospital Thatta, Civil Hospital Badin, Civil Hospital Mirpurkhas, Civil Hospital Tharparkar, and Civil Hospital Jamshoro.

The Indus hospital performed a gap analyses wherein it was found that the total requirement of all the attached hospital-based blood banks was 70,000 bags, Hence the quantity of 20,000 bags mentioned in the contract. This would cause an impact of Rs.8.2 billion in next 10 years.

The cabinet approved the proposal and gave go ahead signal to the Indus hospital.  (PR)

 

 

 

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