KARACHI: In a bid to encourage flood-affected farmers to grow more wheat to avoid a famine-like situation in the province, the Sindh cabinet on Sunday fixed the support price of wheat at Rs4,000 per 40 kilograms.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah here at CM House, was attended by provincial ministers, advisers, chief secretary and concerned secretaries. Various ministers, advisers and special assistants attended the meeting from flood affected areas through video links.

The chief minister said that the provincial government purchased imported wheat at a cost of Rs9,000 per 40kg, which meant that the grower of other countries were given benefit. “Now, we have to think about our grower who still has to reclaim his land from the floodwater, prepare it for sowing and use costly inputs to grow the crop, therefore the benefit of better price must go to our local grower.”

CM’s Agriculture Adviser Manzoor Wassan said that agricultural fields were submerged and there needed a lot of efforts to drain out water and prepare the fields for the next crops.

New CEO of Sindh Bank, KWSB appointed

“If the wheat is not grown to a certain proportion, the province may face a famine-like situation,” he said and suggested offering high price to growers as an incentive.

The cabinet members, after a thorough discussion, decided to offer Rs4,000 per 40kg support price for wheat crop 2022-23.

The meeting participants decided that the food department would start releasing its wheat stocks from October 1, while the price would be suggested by a subcommittee comprising the agriculture adviser Wassan, ministers Mukesh Chawla and Ismail Rahu, special assistants Qasim Naveed and Haris Gazdar and Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput.

The cabinet directed the subcommittee to file its recommendations within a week.

On the recommendation of selection boards/committees, the cabinet approved appointment of Imran Samad as president of Sindh Bank.

It also appointed Salahuddin as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) and Asadullah as the utility’s chief operating officer (COO).

The cabinet accorded post-facto approval to 24 districts of calamity-hit areas, including two union councils of Malir district of Karachi division.

The provincial government had already notified 22 districts as calamity hit areas on August 21, and Tharparkar on August 29.

5,636 pregnant women living in camps: minister

In a separate meeting, the chief minister decided to speed up relief efforts by providing ration bags, tents, and mosquito nets to the flood-hit people of the province.

Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho told the meeting that over 600,000 displaced people were living in camps, while 1,363,312 patients of different complications had been treated.

She added that out of total patients 28 per cent had gastro, 27pc skin diseases, seven per cent dengue and malaria and 38pc had other health issues.

She disclosed that in camps 5,636 pregnant women were living, of whom 439 were near deliveries.

At this the chief minister directed the health department to register all the pregnant women and assign doctors to visit them regularly. “These women and children must be given health supplements,” he added.

The CM also directed the provincial disaster management authority to ensure proper distribution of mosquito nets to control malaria in the relief camps.

The PDMA officials told the meeting that a total of 183,424 tents had been distributed and 9,945 were in the pipeline. The district administrations had been provided with 145,090 tarpaulin and 60,000 were expected to be received within the next few days.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2022

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