Friday, June 29, 2012

Karachi needs major drainage plan before monsoon: Z A Nizami

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology has, on the directive of its Chancellor Z.A. Nizami,  issued an exhaustive report on “Rain Emergency” in Karachi.
The Chancellor issued the directive  following Met Office forecast about excessive rains this year hitting the coastal areas of Sindh including Karachi.
Talking to media, Chancellor Nizami observed that whenever there is heavy rainfall in Karachi coinciding with high tides in Arabian Sea, the basic civic services like storm water drainage, water supply, sewerage, power supply, accessibility and movement within city get disrupted. and daily routine life of citizens comes to a standstill during this period besides loss of life and damage to property.
This situation, he emphasized, warrants suitable measures prior to the start  of monsoon season preferably well in advance as to minimize possible miseries suffered by citizen, save the loss of life and property.
The Chancellor pointed out that considering the  rainfall impact on civic service, the report discuss threadbare  problems and solutions thereof..
He pointed out that recommendations  of the report are mostly experience-driven,  service-oriented and at the same time, the role of civic bodies, efforts of NGOs and media coverage have also been included and  can go a long way to improve on-ground situation on lasting basis.
He said that precautionary measures are immediately needed for uninterrupted service during rains.
According to the report, there are 100 vulnerable spots in Karachi where flooding occurs whenever there is rainfall for which technical solutions for permanent remedy are needed.
“Purpose of these works would be to improve conditions, he said and pointed out that since monsoon season is approaching it is necessary for authorities to undertake proactive steps on fast track and on war footing..
It may be mentioned here that on the Chancellors directives, the SSUET’s  Institute of Human Setlements and Disaster Management of  University, has published many  reports on Environment and Disaster Management as a public service activity..
The report hinted that heavy rains are expected this year and it was imperative  to make full proof measures before rains start.
Considering gravity of situation and problems faced by citizen during emergency, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) has decided to contribute towards the public service by effectively using the expertise available in the institution.
The role of SSUET is to serve as a think-tank through independent scientific approach to reinforce efforts of the City District Government, Karachi (CDGK), and other stakeholders to cope with natural or manmade disaster situation.
The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology has established the Institute of Human Settlements and Environment that produces research reports with recommendations on disaster management. As a part of this activity this report focuses on the heavy rainfall during 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 1010 and 2011. Monsoon season synchronizes with high tides and windstorm.
The overall impact on civic services is covered in the report and highlights problems. Report also includes some recommendation to address the issue on lasting basis. Now that Global Warming is a real phenomenon and after experience of Pakistan Floods 2010/2011, possibility of heavy downpour can be expected. Common problems that arise in provision of civic services include flooding of rainwater at a number of places, shortage of water, contamination of drinking water, sewage overflows, hazards of billboards, uprooting of trees, and power failure for long duration and live wire snapping.
The emergency situation has caused adverse consequences on infrastructure of city as a whole. The underlying weaknesses in our system, which originate from temporary solutions, do not last and break-down is common feature during emergency. Situation that occurred in past showed that local authorities are yet to get fully prepared to cope with the hazards.
It said considering difficulties faced by citizen during rains of 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009-2010, City District Government Karachi (CDGK), KWSB has taken a number of measures, but, a lot of work is required in future. More efforts are needed on immediate, short, medium and long term leading to master plan of city Storm Water Drainage. Rainfall 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 was although rainfall runoff was of less quantity, but it was of high intensity. It synchronized with high tides along coastal belt and wind-storm. During Monsoon season May to August although the quantity of rain is less but of high intensity both in space and time the flow of runoff from outfalls also gets affected.
The report suggests that there is a need to immediately undertake and prepare a storm water drainage master plan by concerned authority in the light of pervious history.
De-silting, cleaning of all nallahs and drains by CDGK and TMAs as a continuous activity. The report says that keeping in view the gravity of situation discussed above it is proposed to have a conference at SSUET to review the whole scenario and to suggest future course of action.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

SSUET’s Rs 817 million budget 2012-13 passed with 20% salary increase

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
A surplus Rs 817 million budget of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, (SSUET), Karachi, for the fiscal 2012-2013 was passed at a meeting of the University’s Board of Governors held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawaid Hasan  Rizvi on June 23.
In the budget the University announced a 20 percent increase in the salaries of its employees while it showed Rs 815 million as current expenditure for the next fiscal.
The budget shows Rs 816.89 million as current income and Rs 814.27 million as current expenditure thus making it surplus by Rs 2.63 million.
According to the salient features, the university will spend Rs 100.52 million on development, Rs 37.6 million on the purchase of additional equipment for laboratories in all the Faculties including newly established Telecom Faculty.
Besides, Rs 16.5 million has been earmarked for financial help to deserving students and staff. The help will come out of profits on Endowment Fund, while Rs 23.45 million would be spent on construction of new academic block and Rs 9 million for development of New Campus/IT Park at its 200 acres of land in the upcoming Education City.
The university has earmarked Rs 1.5 million for research projects, Rs 6 million for research by faculty, Rs 1.6 million for PhD Graduate Program while Rs 3 million has been set aside for purchase of new books, research journals and equipment for its library.
As per budget documents some 10,818 students had been awarded degrees in six different engineering disciplines since 1998 to date
 This year, the university allocated Rs 16.5 million for development fund and the accumulated Fund now stands at Rs 88.1 million. The Endowment Fund which was established with an amount of Rs 250 million in 2006 has now soared to Rs 310 million.

The Board also approved the proposition of Academic Council according to which syllabus has been amended with respect to the present demands and modern trends.
The Board meeting was attended, among others, by Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Moinuddin Haider, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, Prof. Dr. M.D. Shami, Justice Fazl-e-Ghani Khan, Engr. Muhammad Adil Usman and Cdre (Rtd) Salim A. Siddiqui.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

JCR-VIS assign IFC strength of AA to PakRe

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
The JCR-VIS Credit Rating Co. Ltd. (JCR-VIS), approved by the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), has reaffirmed the Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating of Pakistan Reinsurance Company Limited (PRCL) at "AA" (Double A) for the year 2012. The outlook on the rating is stable.
The JCR-VIS rating agency, a joint venture between Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd. (JCR) - Japan's premier rating agency, Vital Information Services (Pvt.) Limited (VIS) is acclaimed as Pakistan’s only independent financial research organization.
The rating derives strength from the significant holding of Government of Pakistan in the company. Moreover, given that all insurance companies of Pakistan are mandated to offer 35% of their surplus business to PRCL in the form of cession, the company is expected to maintain a sizeable market share in premium ceded by the insurance industry.
The JCR-VIS have taken into account the improvement in underwriting profit of the company on a timeline basis in 2011 on account of lower retrocession.
While overall claims ratio has remained at prior year's level, claims performance in facultative business continues to be superior relative to that of treaty business. In view of this, further growth in the share of treaty business in overall business may result in upward pressure on net claims ratio, going forward. It observed that overall profitability of the Company receives strong impetus from recurring earnings on investment portfolio.
Even though insurance debt represented more than one-third of gross premium, JCR-VIS have noted that outstanding liabilities are adequately covered by liquid assets. This is the second year running that PakRe has earned this distinction in 2012.
Besides, PakRe has been acclaimed the best Non-Life Reinsurance Company by Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) for 2011 for Corporate Governance Excellence Award-2011 which the Chairman PakRe, Munawwar Opel, received from the Federal Minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who was the chief guest on the occasion.
 PakRe, the lone reinsurer in Pakistan is a public sector enterprise, has earned Rs.900.00 Million after tax profit announced and distributed 30% dividend to its shareholders (51% - Federal Government, 24% -SLIC and rest minority including staff of PakRe) amounting to Rs.900 Million, and six bonuses to its employees.
Its role in the economic development of Pakistan has been significant. The progress so far made signifies consolidation of our position, both at home and abroad and encourages further expansion.
Munawwar Opel was elevated as Federal Secretary in BS-22 and appointed as Chairman, Pakistan Reinsurance Company Limited in April 2012. He has had the distinction of being the Acting Chief Secretary Sindh twice. He also served as KPT’s General Manager, Administration, for almost a year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PEC Chairman destermined to resolve problems of engineers

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

The Chairman of the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), Syed Abdul Qadir Shah, has assured that he will leave no stone unturned in resolving the issues confronting the consulting engineers of the country.

He held out the assurance while speaking as the chief guest at a reception hosted to felicitate Maulana Arif Kassim and Ahsan Azhar Siddiqi, on their election as Secretary and President of Consulting Engineering Association of Pakistan (CEAP) respectively.

“The PEC, within its jurisdiction, will extend total support in resolving the problems of consulting engineers,” Abdul Qadir Shah told the gathering.

He particularly referred to the enrollment of the CEAP members with the PEC and announced that leaving the choice with the President and Secretary CEAP, either of them would be taken on PEC’s Enrollment Committee so that no problem is faced by their members in getting PEC’s enrollment.

He recalled that recently the PEC had invited Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to its dinner function in which the Prime Minister accepted their demands including matters related to service structure of engineers and appointment of engineers as heads of engineering sections of their respective departments.

Referring to the issues raised by eminent consulting engineers, the Chairman PEC directed that the same should be submitted to him in writing and reiterated the assurance that PEC would solve them.

Abdul Qadir Shah informed the audience that a Help Desk has been set up at the PEC and the Council would publicize the vacancies of engineers wherever it will come to know about their availability.

He said that the PEC has asked the Consultants to appoint engineers in their respective organizations, addng that this would greatly helpful in overcoming unemployment among engineers.

Earlier in his speech, the CEAP Secretary, Arif Kassim, called for greater unity among consulting engineers and said only a strong coordination between them would help resolve their problems.

He urged the CEAP members to work dedicatedly for promoting the cause of the association. He also highlighted various problems faced by consulting engineers, particularly their enrolment with the PEC and demanded that consulting engineers be given representation in its various committees.

The CEAP President, Ahsan Siddiqi, remarked that their Association has enlisted the problems faced by its members and has taken initiatives to resolve them.

Earlier Mohammed Shafiq, an eminent consulting engineer, delivered the welcome address and expressed the hope that as the chief of the engineer’s epoch body, he will be able to resolve the issues faced by consulting engineers.

The outgoing President of the Association also spoke on the occasion and highlighted various problems faced by Consulting Engineers.

Besides a large number of consulting engineers from various engineering disciplines, the reception was also attended by Vice-Chairman, PEC, Mukhtar Shaikh, DG Railway’s Walton Training Institute, Qureshi, and a former civil servant, Ashfaq Memon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

KASB Foundation urge David Grier to run across Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

The Chairman of the KASB Foundation, Arif Ali Shah Bukhari, alongwith with the representatives from the various components of the KASB of Group Companies, had a very constructive and fruitful meeting with David Grier, the inspirational figurehead from South Africa, who is serving humanity through his ‘Miles for Smiles Foundation’ with the objective to raise funds and awareness for non-profit organizations world-over to help thousands of children overcome poverty through life changing innovative decisions. 

Grier is one of the best known philanthropists besides being a speaker, chef and extreme adventurer, hailing from the South African city of Cape Town. He has also raised funds for reconstructive facial surgeries for underprivileged children, that has helped to change their lives forever.

Although asthmatic, he has proven to the world that the limitations we impose on ourselves are only in our minds by overcoming them with ‘running campaigns’ that have sometimes been for months, with the most famous ones being running all the way on the Great Wall of China that covered a staggering distance of 4,200 kms in 98 days, besides his runs across India, Madagascar South Africa and many other such adventurous ventures to help raise funds and awareness for the needy, underprivileged and poor in our society.

Bukhari and Grier also discussed the need to help poor children in Pakistan with childhood deformities as well as deformities caused to women of disfigurement by the throwing of acid on their faces. 

To help create awareness through which this “cursed trend” is put to an end, Bukhari also requested David Grier to “run across Pakistan – from Karachi to Peshawar” at a time convenient to him in the near future. 

Bukhari heads the KASB Foundation, a non-profit organisation which is involved in bettering the lives of the under-privileged people by providing grants for charitable purpose. It has continued to grow and develop as a transparent charitable organization through its highly motivated and organized structure that provides disaster relief and long-term sustainable community health services and self-support programmess that provide opportunities to the underprivileged to earn and manage their lives with self-respect and diginity.

The Miles for Smiles Foundation was formed to assist Operation Smile in creating awareness for the plight of children born with cleft lips and palates and raise funds to perform corrective surgery on them. It has a fundamental aim, to inspire and challenge individuals to go out and make a difference in the lives of those around them, by challenging themselves to achieve the impossible and by doing so make a difference. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shah Mahmood inaugurates another facility at SSUET

Karachi Observer Report

Sir Syed University of Engineering & Techonolgy (SSUET), Karachi, under the visionary leadership of Engr Z A Nizami, has been making great strides in the field of higher education over the past couple of decades.

The SSUET’s faculty and staff are considered as their most imporant strategic assets and they have continued to offer a supportive environment and the opportunity to advance.

In line with their policy of striving for excellence and equipping themselves with modern systems, a high-tech photostat machine has been installed in the Public Affairs department and the inauguration was performed by Shah Mahmood Hussain Syed, Registrar, SSUET.

The officials of the SSUET’s Public Affairs department present on the occasion included Abdul Qadir Qureshi, Hamid Dakhni, Syed Iqbal Hasan Rizvi and Mohammad Aqeel.