HYDERABAD-The Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Justice (r) Maqbool Baqar has urged the federal government to start work on the Hyderabad-Sukkur M6 Motorway, especially on the sections where the land acquisition issues have been resolved. “I know that the construction of M6 was stopped because of the land acquisition scandal. But now that process has been completed by the [concerned] committee,” he said while chairing an official meeting in Sehwan, Jamshoro district, on Saturday.
The meeting was attended by Sindh Minister for Irrigation Ishwarl Lal, Chief Secretary Sindh Dr Fakhre Alam, Secretary Irrigation Niaz Abbasi, Secretary Works Nawaz Soho, Commissioner Hyderabad Khalid Hyder Shah, DIG Hyderabad Tariq Dharejo, CEO Peoples Housing Scheme and other officials.
The CM directed the divisional administration to ensure the smooth completion of all the projects involving land acquisition. He asked the chief secretary to talk to the federal government and ensure early resumption of the stalled work on M6. Baqar directed the divisional administration to focus on facilitating general elections and strengthening the drive against electricity theft in addition to the price control operations against hoarders and illegal profiteers. He underlined the need to resolve the issues concerning traffic congestion, parking problems and improvement of the infrastructure, particularly parks and playgrounds.
The CM said the administration should unwaveringly support the routine immunization programs especially the polio eradication campaign as per the National Emergency Action Plan. The CM directed the police to evolve a comprehensive strategy to eliminate the menace of gutka and maipuri in the entire Hyderabad Division.
Commissioner Shah briefed the CM about the progress of the under-construction of Hyderabad-Sukkur motorway.
He said that out of the motorway’s total length of 396 kilometres, some 105 km of M6 would pass through the districts of Hyderabad Division for which 2,428 acres land was required. He added that the land acquisition process was stopped temporarily due to the embezzlement of funds meant for the land purchase through the deputy commissioners. However, he continued, the process restarted following the rectifications and a committee under his office had completed the joint surveys and fresh demarcations with the digital coordinates.
“Only a portion of Matiari district was yet to be completed,” he apprised. Meanwhile, briefing the CM about the law and order situation in the 9 districts of Hyderabad division, DIG Hyderabad Tariq Dharejo told that the Hyderabad Range consisted of 42 police subdivisions and 156 police stations. The total strength of the police force including nine SSPs was 18,529, he added. The DIG told the CM that 2,761 cases of various crimes were registered in the range in the current year among which some 1,883 accused persons had been indicted, 33 convicted and 331 were acquitted while 1,482 cases were under the trials. According to him, another 1,908 cases pertaining to property and 5,675 cases under the local and special laws were also registered during the ongoing year and 3,636 of those cases were under trial while the rest had been disposed.
Dharejo claimed that he was showing zero tolerance towards drug trafficking, saying that 2,701 cases had been registered under the Gutka Mainpuri Act, 2019, in 2023 and as many as 3,924 accused persons were arrested besides recovery of the banned items worth around Rs2.793 billion. The Chief Engineer Irrigation Syed Sardar Shah briefed that there were 361 saline drains in the command areas of Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri barrages with a total length of 4,970 miles.
He added that Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) was the longest drain while another very long drain with 2,773 km length, the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD), was still under construction. He said the factors leading to huge devastation like floods, torrential downpours and hill torrents as witnessed in monsoon 2022 caused massive damage to the irrigation system particularly affecting Manchar lake, RBOD and the surrounding network immensely. He told the CM that 10 different projects of rehab at Shahbaz Division under Sukkur Barrage Right Bank would be completed by December 2023. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sindh Peoples Housing for Flood Affectees (SPHFA) Khalid Shaikh recalled that 24 out of 30 districts in Sindh were declared calamity-hit in 2022 with some 12.36 million people affected and 2.1 million houses damaged or destroyed. Shaikh said around 50 percent of the destroyed houses were built on the state’s land, 31 percent on private land and 19 percent on agricultural land.
According to him, in view of the destruction’s scale, the Sindh government decided to grant a lease of the land for the houses built on the state’s land. He informed that 596,793 houses, represented by women, had been verified for reconstruction so far in Sindh. Among those women, 121,817 were widows, 34,382 were unaccompanied by elders, 4,250 with disabled husbands, and 3,020 were divorced, abandoned or unmarried older women dependent on others. The CEO maintained that his department would build around 600,000 houses by June 2024. He said in Jamshoro alone some 60,609 houses were damaged.