CCI agrees to resolve Sindh, Balochistan water crisis

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks to the chief ministers of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Sardar Usman Buzdar, Mehmood Khan and Jam Kamal Khan, respectively, before the Council of Common Interests meeting on Monday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks to the chief ministers of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Sardar Usman Buzdar, Mehmood Khan and Jam Kamal Khan, respectively, before the Council of Common Interests meeting on Monday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: In the first meeting of the reconstituted Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Monday, the Centre decided to resolve the water crisis in Sindh (with special emphasis on Karachi) and Balochistan, besides ensuring better education facilities across the country.

The CCI agreed to overcome the water scarcity in Karachi city and referred an application of the Sindh government regarding provision of 650MGD additional water for the country’s commercial hub to the National Water Council (NWC).

The NWC will make its recommendations keeping in view the present water supply situation in the country and a formula of water distribution among the provinces. The NWC will present its report before the CCI and will also advise how water wastage could be prevented and which steps should be taken for better utilisation of water, according to the media cell of the Prime Minister Office.

Demand for 650MGD additional water for Karachi referred to National Water Council

While presiding over the CCI meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the chief ministers that the federal government would take all the provinces on board to solve their problems. PM Khan said: “A comprehensive and transparent monitoring system for better water distribution among the provinces should be enforced to provide accurate and timely information to the provinces, because lack of right information cause misunderstandings.”

PM Imran Khan in a group photo with CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, CM Punjab Usman Buzdar, CM KP Mehmood Khan and CM Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan at PM Office. — APP
PM Imran Khan in a group photo with CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, CM Punjab Usman Buzdar, CM KP Mehmood Khan and CM Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan at PM Office. — APP

The CCI also reviewed energy problems of Balochistan and enhancement of its absorption capacity, short water supplies in Pat Feeder and Khirthar canals and agreed upon implementation of Kazi Committee Methodology (KCM) for calculation of net hydel profit. The meeting decided that the chief ministers of Sindh and Balochistan would sit together and settle the issue of Pat Feeder and Khirthar canals.

Food, education

The CCI also formed a task force and a special committee to implement the decisions of all regulatory bodies of the central government and maintain uniform standard of food items and their quality in the country.

The council also highlighted the need for coordination between the Centre and the provinces to ensure improvement in standard of education and implement uniform education system across the country. In this connection, the High Education Commission (HEC) was directed to give recommendations to the CCI within a month.

For special focus on standard of education and health facilities in Balochistan, the CCI asked the HEC to review all possible steps in collaboration with the provincial government while PM Khan announced that the Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital would extend its services to the province.

At the meeting, the Centre and the provinces endorsed a proposal for a countrywide cleanliness drive, which would be launched by the prime minister on Oct 7.

The CCI formed a task force to review the situation evolved due to the devolution of administrative and financial powers of Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) and Employee’s Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) to the provinces.

While reviewing two summaries of the petroleum division of the Ministry of Energy on Amendment of Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy, 2012, and Import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the CCI referred both summaries to the Economic Coordination Committee.

Earlier this month, the government had reconstituted the CCI giving better representation to Sindh. However, the ruling alliance at the Centre has an overwhelming majority in the council, as Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is the only member belonging to the opposition.

The eight-member council is headed by the prime minister with four provincial chief ministers and federal ministers for IPC, industries and production and finance as its members. The new CCI has four members from Sindh. The previous council under former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had four members from Punjab, whereas his predecessor Nawaz Sharif had the CCI with two members each from all the four provinces.

Asad Umar being the finance minister and Dr Fehmida Mirza holding the portfolio of the interprovincial coordination are also members of the CCI.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2018

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