Monday, November 28

Sindh tries to use every penny of public money in public interest: CM

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that no government hospital is working without funds but, of course, they are providing services free cost and their funds are arranged from the taxes the people are paying, therefore it has been his utmost effort to utilize every single penny of the public funds sagaciously in the interest of the public.

This he said while speaking at Cardiovascular Symposium organized by The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry at Federation House on Friday. Mr Shah said that it was a great success of his government that leading hospitals such as NICVD, JPMC and NICH were providing free cost health services.

“The NICVD has performed 8,856 Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCIs) in 1919 and became the largest primary PCI center of the world,” he disclosed and added all these PCIs were performed free of cost and the expenditures incurred on these PCIs were met through provincial government budget and the donations the philanthropists had advanced to the NICVD,” he said.

The CM recalled that in July 1911 three hospitals, NICVD, JPMC and NICH were devolved to the Sindh government without giving a single penny. “The secretary finance came to me [I was finance minister] and said that funds for running these three hospitals have not been allocated in the budget but even then, the Sindh government spared Rs9 billion,” he said and added this year his government has allocated Rs22 billion for these hospitals though they did not belong to the Sindh government legally.

Murad Ali Shah said that when the case of three hospitals’ ownership was being heard in the Supreme Court, he had called on Prime Minister Imran Khan with the request to run the hospitals with the same spirit as was being demonstrated by the Sindh government in case the decision of the court came in favour of the federal government. He added that the prime minister was kind enough to assure him that the hospitals would be run by the provincial government even if the court gave a verdict against the provincial government.

He disclosed that the prime minister was very clear in the operation and ownership of the hospitals, but some other people of the ruling party have been playing games. Mr Shah said that the people of Karachi were generous enough in giving donations to run the hospitals and “with the grace of God these three hospitals are serving the people of the whole country free of cost,” he said.

Talking about JPMC, the chief minister said that it has a vast OPD and emergency services ratio in the country and was providing a costly cancer treatment free of cost at its Cyberknife unit. He added that apart from the Sindh government, the philanthropists were extending a helping hand to run the unit free of cost.

Discussing the COVID situation, Murad Ali Shah said that when the first case of coronavirus was detected in Karachi on 26 February, he had decided to close the schools. “The decision was taken to protect lives of the people from the pandemic,” he said and added the first death stemming from the virus was reported in March 2019 and we went on taking hard decisions, he recalled.

He said that the pandemic that was under control these days was the result of the hard decisions he had taken. “Oh, yes the closures of the market and business activities had affected the people, particularly the small traders and vendors but some relief was provided to the people,” he said and added some more relief may be given in the shape of some relief in the taxation.

Q and A: Replying to a question, the chief minister said that he has re-construct major and important roads and derangements in the city but the city was so large that the works done so far seemed to be not enough. He added that still he had to do more and more work to develop this city.

Mr Shah said that the rain we received on Wednesday had submerged the roads but within a few hours the rainwater was disposed of except Nagan Chowrangi where the infrastructure of under-construction Green Line BRT had blocked the disposal of the rain water.

To another question, he said that he would remove encroachments from the Korangi Industrial Area but the old villages located there could not be disturbed. He told the Korangi area industrialists that he had provided them funds to construct their roads and they had done them properly. Yet to another question, the CM said that he would improve Abbasi Shaheed and Qatar Hospitals very soon.