Friday, February 15, 2019

HESCO nabs power thieves

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Three illegal electric transformers were recovered during a search operation carried out by a team of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) against electric defaulters in Lakhat area near left bank of River Indus. 

The team led by Superintendent Engineer Malik Imtiaz conducted the raid near Pir Noor Shah Feeder where two transformers were located hidden in bushes while one illegal transformer was mounted on an electric pole. 

SE Malik Imtiaz told reporters that these three transformers were being used in running as many as twelve tube wells to irrigate hundreds of acres of land, wheat grinders besides supplying power to hundreds of houses. 

He said that an application was submitted to Qazi Ahmed Police for registration of FIR against the culprits. 

He disclosed that the raiding team faced resistance from local area people during operation against power thieves, adding that a departmental action has also been initiated against HESCO staff found involved in conniving with power thieves some of whom were also transferred from the area.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Asif Zardari’s sudden visit to Nawabshah

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Asif Ali Zardari, a former President of Pakistan and a member of the National Assembly from Nawabshah, undertook a sudden and unplanned visit of his home city the other day. 

He could not hide his displeasure over the deteriorating conditions of the city and urged for improvement in the various sectors to bring about relief for the inhabitants of Nawabshah. 

Without informing the local administration and avoiding protocol, Asif Ali Zardari accompanied by only personal staff, went around various city areas and bazaars. 

His sudden visit awakened the officials of Municipal Committee, Public Health and other government departments. 

Soon after his departure, Deputy Commissioner immediately convened a meeting of district departments to launch anti mosquito, anti encroachment, anti-pye dog campaign, activate sewerage and water supply projects and renewed street lights and speedy disposal of waste and garbage. 

Additional Commissioner Shaheed Benazirabad Muhammad Yousuf Abbasi, ADC Waseem Hamid, AC Nawabshah Nabeel Sindhu, AC Sakrand Saleem Jatoi, Deputy Director Local Government Abdul Sattar Rathore, Chief Municipal Officer, Town Committee officers Daulatpur, Qazi Ahmed, Sakrand Shahpur Jahania, Bucheri, Bandhi and other related officials attended the meeting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Journalists’ bodies seek restoration of jobs

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (Dastoor) under the auspices of the Nawabshah Union of Journalists (NUJ), staged a protest demonstration against termination of journalists from media houses and deductions in salaries. 

The demonstration led by Central Assistant Secretary PFUJ (D) Shoaib Khan was held at Sheraz Chowk and participated, among others, by President, Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), Tariq Abul Hassan, Secretary, Karachi Press Club (KPC), Hanif Akbar, President, Hyderabad Union of Journalists (HUJ) Abdul Hafeez Abid, General Secretary Tajamul Hussain, President, NUJ, Muhammad Anwar Shaikh, General Secretary Arshad Ali Shaikh and others. 

Addressing the protesters, the PFUJ leaders described the terminations of journalists as a conspiracy and said such media crises never surfaced earlier even during the martial law regimes. 

The speakers said that more than two thousand media workers have been removed from jobs and those working in media houses were facing deductions in salaries. 

They remarked that the journalists community would now protest all out against channels and newspapers for their genuine rights while the unions would continue their protests at the offices of media houses till the last worker was restored.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Hurdles and solutions to K-IV mega project

By Salman Chandio
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The biggest issue of Karachi nowadays remains the substantial shortage of water. In order to overcome this shortage, a critical project in name of K-IV had been taken up three years ago which is creeping so slow that people of Karachi are losing their hope day by day and they are now even afraid of riots due to water crisis.

Similar conditions were witnessed in 1998 in District West and the area had to given under the control of Pakistan Army and Pakistan Ranger along with all the Water Tanker Service who managed equitable distribution in the tanks of mosques and community places which allowed people to fetch in fixed timings as per schedule in a discipline which was beyond civil authorities, specifically with the limited KW&SB management resources. 

The KW&SB's K-IV (Phase-I ) project has been jointly managed by the provincial and federal governments and was planned to provide 650 million gallons of water daily to Karachi in three phases, but 260 MGD so far its first stage is yet to be completed. Its feasibility report was prepared in 2007 and PC-I was developed by the consultant the same year with a project cost of Rs 28 billion which was duly approved by P&D department of the Government of Sindh. 

It was also approved by the Government of Pakistan in 2011, with the project cost being Rs 25 billion. The year wise funding was also released by the provincial and federal governments to the KW&SB Project.

The total length of the Phase 1 of the project is 120 km, of which approximately 92 km is open canal, 10 km are siphons, and approximately 8 km are RCC conduits. 

The project envisages two Bulk Pump Stations each capable of pumping 260 million gallons per day, and three filtration plants- one of 130 MGD and two of 65 MGD capacity and power Connection for all Pump Houses. 

The K-IV canal runs along the Kheerthar mountain range which posed substantial construction challenges. 

The contract was divided into two packages, one of civil works and other of Electrical/Mechanical works (Pump Houses and Filter Plants) and was allotted to the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) as contractor.

Later on, while start of work the design of both packages could not be designed by designated Consultant and as yet same design, route/levels have not been got vetted from third party under objections and not finalized. 

The two years’ time of completion was given to FWO ending in December 2018. This time has now been extended up to December 2020. 

The contractor was delayed due to defective feasibility report route and PC-I based on that was also found defective when consultant and contractor reached on ground. Hence considerable delay in review of route and finalization/vetting same from third party has yet not been finalized. The work has been held up so for.

Accordingly, construction cost also is gradually increasing high up to Rs 75 billion as learnt. 

While start of work the design of both packages could not be designed by designated consultant and as yet same design, route/levels have not been got vetted from third party under objections and not finalized. 

Water is being extracted from Keenjhar Lake through three water canals and each canal for each phase. 

The project (Phase-I) initially targeted to be completed in mid 2017 but extended to December 2018. It is now is reported to be delayed for more than two years and end in December 2020. The great tragedy of this project is that it started with ill- planning, right from its inception of feasibility study and PC-I stages. Very little or no planning was done for pumping stations, power generation units and filter plants to bring the water to required height.

The actual ground condition was not highlighted in PC-I which was merely reflected position from Google. Extra massive work then was required at site including twelve bridges, eighteen pedestrian culverts in Canal's way and the staff colony. 

The augmentation work to connect the Canal/Filter plants with existing transmission water trunk main system duly ignored also needs to be laid because of the Canal/Filter plants would be 50 Kilometers distance away from it, was conspicuously absent in planning which resulted in cost overruns from Rs 25 billion to Rs 75 billion with a portal of further cost escalation. 

Further, the conditions of ground reveal that this route adopted for Canal etc is technically proved to be costly and rather total y not feasible to waste further money as there is no chance of success. How the route would change? Because they understand that the present route is correct and water will reach at their destination positively in two years. 

They may not understand how the present route will not be supported. Kindly be advised to concerned authorities who make decision positively. Their contention and technical approach is proved wrong. 

Now the responsibility fixation and re-route also depends upon authorities whether they feel their present route is okay and then should own failure or take full responsibility if water would not be reaching to city even from 50 KM away as per existing route and God forbid that all expenditures upon completion go in drain and on other side the civil war to start among citizens on shortage of water and population of city would have been doubled than 2006 when K-III was commissioned. 

They should now reaffirm to continue upon failure-route taken up as per private agenda Alternatively they may switch back and re route as per scope as was decided by GOS in approved PC-II. 

As decided by GOS in PC-II the storage would be ensured from Haleji and Hadero lakes to eliminate shortage in winter every year during four months in winter season when Indus River is dry and in future to experience more shortage in Indus. 

Secondly water will reach to nearby City and close inter connections with existing transmission system instead of connecting from 50 KMs away and expenditure of Rs 28 billion proposed would be saved. 

Thirdly the single stage Bulk Pumping will do it possible instead Double Stage Bulk Pumping about Rs 30 cores per each stage as electric bill would be saving for long life by adopting single Bulk Pumping as in K- I, II, III as yet. 

The original route based upon Single Stage Pumping with ensured supply of water direct to city on gravity basis at Rs 30 billion instead now 75 billion and expected to shoot upto Rs 100 billion or even Rs 200 billions but this route was changed by private agenda of consultants with wasted interests and without any intimation/approval the change of scope of PC-II approved by GOS. 

There shall be change of route in place of existing private agenda failure route to save expenditures, to ensure Single Bulk Pump House instead of Double Pumping House, to ensure possibility to bring water nearest to city instead 50 KMs away from city which requires Rs. 28 billion proposed and the utilization of Haleji and Hadero lakes for Storage of water during four months of winter season in addition to Keenjhar Lake. 

**The writer is former Managing Director of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Anwar Shaikh elected as president of NUJ

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Muhammad Anwar Shaikh,  (Geo News) and Muhammad Arshad Shaikh  (Dawn News)  were elected as  President and General Secretary of Nawabshah Union of Journalists (Dastoor), PFUJ chapter  held under the supervision of President Nawabshah Press Club Muhammad Aslam Munir. 

Other office bearers elected were Muhammad Arshad Munir Vice President, Muhammad Aslam Azmi ,Joint Secretary, Ziaur Rehman Treasurer and Muhammad Shafique Malik Coordination Secretary. 

Speaking on the occasion Muhammad Anwar Shaikh and General Secretary Muhammad Arshad Shaikh assured that all out  efforts would be made to resolve the basic issues of the journalists and for their welfarefrom the platform of PFUJ. 

The Central President Pakistan Union of Journalists Haji Nawaz Raza, General Secretary Suhail Afzal, President Karachi Union of Journalists Tariq Abul Hassan, General Secretary Hamidur Rehman, President Hyderabad Union of Journalists Abdul Hafeez Abid and General Secretary Tajjamul Hussain congratulated the newly elected office bearers of Nawabshah Union of Journalists.

Special measures are being taken to make PSL most successful

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Special measures are being taken to make the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in Karachi most  successful and memorable, this was stated by Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani.

In this regard,   the surroundings of National Stadium,city's various areas, their roads and intersections  would  be decorated while steps to be taken for live streaming cricket matches at different city parks with the support of former test cricketer Sadiq Muhammed Khan.   

Such live streaming would be arranged  at about 10 parks  where  people at large along with cricket fans could watch PSL matches, Shalwani informed while chairing a meeting held to   discussed in detail all aspects to make  PSL a successful venture in Karachi. 

It was decided that images  of cricket legends  will be displayed at city's vantage points. The meeting  discussed  the idea of live streaming of PSL matches at different parks with the support of former test cricketer Sadiq Muhammad as an organizer who will be assisted and coordinated by Deputy Commissioners.

It was decided that  registration through whats-app would be mandatory for  people who intended to watch live streaming at parks..

The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioners  South Salahuddin Ahmed and East Ali Ahmed Siddiqui, PBC reprentative and General Manager Arshad Khan, Assistant Commissioner Headquarters Asif Reza besides senior officials of Pakistan Rangers, Police and Traffic Police.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani meets SCSW delegation

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani has said that city administration would provide all possible support to the Commission on Status of Women  to achieve  its objective for the  social, economic, political and legal rights of women  .

He appreciated the idea of establishing the Sindh commission on Women Status and observed that it would help achieve the goals of the government initiative to provide women equal opportunities in society.

He was talking to a 4-member  delegation of Sindh Commission on the Status of Women headed by Ms. Nuzhat Shirin which met him at his office.

The meeting discussed various programs  to be organized by the Commission in coordination with the city administration.

The Commissioner was appreciative  of this initiative and assured of his office’s full support. He also appreciated the idea of organizing   programs  by the Commission for celebration of  Women Day to be held on February 12 in the city.

The Chairperson Nuzhat Shirin gave an overview of the SCSW activities  carried out in its first year and shared the Commission’s newsletter with the commissioner..

She informed that SCSW is going to observe the day on Feb 12 on a  under large-scale. The  celebrations in this regard will be held at Arts Council Karachi.This year, theme  will be “Women’s Resistance Against Discrimination”, 

The event will recall not only historical women’s movement but will also discuss how far Sindh has come close  in achieving gender equality, the current struggles and challenges faced along with solutions.. 

The event will also feature women from different professional backgrounds and provide a platform for women to interact and learn from one another. 

An award ceremony has also been planned for achievements made in various fields, including education, health, law, science & technology, banking, politics, women’s rights activism, performing arts and literature by  senior women professionals and mid-career level professionals. 

It will also be an economic opportunity for small scale businesswomen to showcase their products and services, an opportunity for women’s rights organizations to highlight their work while women artists to have a platform for performances. 

Ms. Nuzhat Shirin also shared the research and SOPs developed on safe houses by the Commission, as per orders of the High Court. She urged Commissioner Karachi to establish a model safe house for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Karachi based on the SOPs developed by the SCSW. The SCSW will support the Commissioner’s office fully in this endeavor.

The delegation also emphasized  the need to improve women’s mobility in the city. Ms. Nuzhat suggested plying of women  dedicated buses on specific routes during work hours to facilitate women  access to city's business centers as well industrial units.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

World Bank delegation visits DMC Central

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A 5-member World Bank delegation headed by Rajul A Wasthi,  Senior Urban Immovable Property  Tax (UIPT)  specialist,   called on DMC Central Chairman Rehan Hashmi  to discuss   as to how Urban Immovable  Property Tax can be devolved to DMCs and which at present is being collected by KMC.
The delegation members included  Property Tax Consultants Wayaitgrant , William Mcclusskey .
The objective of the WB delegation was to explore the tax collection   capacity of  DMC Central and increase the tax collection through Global Information System (GIS) .
Earlier Chairman DMC Rehan Hashmi,  informed that because of  paucity of funds the tax collection staff could not be provided required training. The delegation members stressed that departmental efficiency can be enhanced through the use of computers.
The  delegation visited DMC Central  on  Sindh Government's request and gathered the required  data as well as finding out tax collection capacity. They told  Chairman Rehan Hashmi that after this meeting further line of action will follow in the next meeting .
The Municipal Commissioner Mohammed Fahim Khan, Director Taxation MIrza Asif Baig and  Deputy Directors Taxes of all four zones were also present which lasted for over an hour.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Haj Balloting held at AIT

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The second Haj Balloting of Aligarh Institute of Technology (AIT)  was held on Friday..

The Convener Managing Committee AIT along with other MC members were present on the occasion.

Following were the two successful candidates along with two back up candidates.
1.    Muhammad Siraj                           Maintenance Dept.,
2.    S.M.  Nasir Ali                                 Sports Officer

Back-up Candidates:
1.    Obaid Akhtar                                 Caretaker
2.    Muhammad Shahzad Khan         Transport Dept.,

In case  any successful candidate becomes unable to perform Hajj  due to any reason, back-up candidates in serial order will be allowed to perform Haj in their place.

All the above candidates are advised to submit copy of their passports to the Administrative Officer to check their validity.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Mending Kids’ Hearts: Children dying preventable deaths from congenital heart disease

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan shares a statistic with India, China and Indonesia: these four countries are home to half the children born with heart defects worldwide.
In Pakistan, a child born with a hole in the heart, known as congenital heart disease (CHD), is now healthier and living longer. But survival depends on how severe the defect is, how quickly it is diagnosed and how well it is treated. 
With most births taking place in rural communities, the number of babies born with heart defects is unclear – an estimate suggests that more than 60,000 infants with a hole in their heart are born each year. About half of these young patients will have a critical CHD and require surgery to survive one year. 
The Aga Khan University Hospital has stepped in to assist these children and their families. Its Mending Kids’ Hearts campaign, now in its fourth year, offers help and hope to those without financial means by covering the cost of quality surgical and medical care of children needing hospital procedures. 
Since the launch of the campaign in 2016, over 1,800 paediatric patients have undergone cardiac procedures at the University Hospital - a majority of whom received financial assistance of nearly PKR 400 million. 
To expand the reach of the Mending Kids’ Hearts campaign, this year AKUH is targeting 300,000 individuals through a camp in collaboration with Aga Khan Maternal and Childcare Centre, Hyderabad. The aim of the camp is to treat children who are overlooked by the health system, and to ensure that they get diagnosed and treated at the University Hospital in time.
Dr Babar Hasan, Service Line Chief of AKUH Children’s Hospital said: “We are now closer to our goal of saving over 1,000 children with CHD each year by 2020. At this rate, we are hoping to exceed our targets. None of this would have been possible without the support of our community which has stood by us in our mission to provide high quality care to young children regardless of their financial background.” 
The Mending Kids’ Hearts campaign has been working to raise both awareness of paediatric CHD and funds to support patients through the AKUH Patient Welfare Programme. 
Its most recent fundraising event saw supporters of life-saving corrective CHD surgeries gather at the Karachi Golf Club on Sunday to compete in AKUH’s signature golf tournament to enable access to quality cardiac care.
The four-man Texas Scramble format was won by the UMA team comprising of Khalid Jamil Siddiqui, Asad I. A. Khan, Khurram Khan, and Arshad I. A. Khan with a gross score of 58, 14 under par on the championship course.