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Sindh govt urges Centre to include census issue in agenda of CCI meeting

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KARACHI (March 16): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has urged the federal government to include Census in the forthcoming Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting scheduled to be held on March 25 in Islamabad. “This is a most important issue and must be given priority.”

This he said while presiding over a meeting to review agenda and of CCI meeting to be held under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on March 25 in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Siddique Memon, Principal Secretary to CM Almauddin Bullo, Additional Chief Secretary Mohammad Waseem, Secretary Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Mushtaq Shaikh, Secretary Irrigation Zaheer Hyder Shah, Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput and other concerned officers.

Secretary IPC department Mushtaq Shaikh said that the agenda of CCI issued by Ministry of Provincial Coordination has only one item that is a 10-year fourth Formation of National Flood Protection Plan (NFPP). On this the chief minister said in the last CCI meeting the matter of census was left to discuss in the next meeting for which the prime minister had fixed the date of March 25. “Now, it is not fair and this must be taken up on the agenda,” he said and directed Secretary provincial IPC department Mushtaq Shaikh for to coordinate with IPC Division to include CCI in the agenda.

The chief minister said that the PPP had hosted a multi-party meeting to discuss census issue at CM House last month. All the 32 parties which attended that meeting had unanimously demanded the federal government not to postpone Census. “I had presented the recommendation of all political parties which had attended the meeting in the CCI meeting. On this, the prime minister had assured him that he would talk to army chief to arrange forces for the security of census teams,” he said. He added that prime minister had also assured him that the census issue would be discussed in the next meeting to be held on March 25,” he recalled and surprised to note that the Census was not included in the agenda of the CCI meeting.

“Our few summaries for CCI are lying there and those may also be taken up in the forthcoming meeting,” he urged the secretary.

Briefing the chief minister on CCI agenda of Formulation of National Flood Protection Plan-IV (2015 to 25), Secretary Irrigation Zaheer Hyder Shah said that the plan is focused on integrated flood management by focusing on non-structural measures such as reservoir operations, flood forecasting and early warning, flood risk zoning, watershed management, flood proofing and insurance and disaster management and other measures.

The chief minister directed chief secretary Siddique Memon and secretary irrigation Zaheer Hyder Shah to sit with the experts and prepare proposals for NFPP. Giving guidelines, Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that the work of flood protective bund hill torrents, rehabilitation of Manchhar Lake, stoppage of sea intrusion which destroys agricultural lands, remodeling of irrigation system in the province, review of possible flood paths/escape channels to divert excessive flood water; hydrological/ geo-ecological investigations of River Indus and recharging underground water resources; proper training for flood fighting and river training programmes in permanent basis and growth of mangroves tree (Timer) in the creeks to stop intrusion of Arabian sea many be included in flood protection plan.

It was also noted in the meeting that the torrential rains during 2006, 2011 and 2012 had badly damaged the drainage system that may be remodeled.

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