KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman Saturday agreed to work on different projects, including depollution of Manchhar Lake, development of eco-tourism on Keenjhar Lake and Miani Forest, and fortifying fisheries cold chains and development of sustainable Fisheries Management Framework.

The meeting in this regard was held at CM House, which was also attended by Provincial Minister for Forest and Wildlife Taimur Talpur, Chairman PD Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Forest Badar Jamil Mendhro and Secretary Environment Hassan Iqbal.

It was pointed out that the federal government has established the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to finance the sub-projects that will contribute to enhancing Pakistan’s resilience to climatic and other natural hazards and to strengthen the government’s ability to respond to disasters triggered by natural hazards.

The Fund is also mandated to support climate related interventions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. It [The Fund] has already committed an amount of US$38.78 million nationally for implementing projects aligned and compliment the implementation of National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) and National Flood Protection Plan (NEPP-IV).

Sherry said that the Fund was planning to initiate proposal processing for Phase-II by November 2022 with anticipated approval of financing for the same by June 2023.

Blue Economy: The chief minister said that the NDRMF had approved a project ‘Towards Resilient Marine Ecosystem and Sustainable Blue Economy’ for Rs1.98 billion. The location of this one-year project (2022-23 and 2023-2024) is the coastal areas of district Thatta, Sujawal, Badin and Karachi.

The project consists of two main components: Resilient Marine Ecosystem and Utilization of salinized land.

Resilient Marine Ecosystem: Resilient Marine Ecosystem through Sustainable Management of Fisheries Resource ecosystem includes different components as follows: establish fisheries protected areas through community engagement; establishment community policing through “Fisheries Stewardship Agreements (FSA)” in identified areas; development of Sustainable Fisheries Management Framework (SFMF) for coastal fisheries (all jetties); fortification of fisheries cold chain and establish support facilities on two landing centers; installation of flake ice machine / chilling unit with cold storage at landing center on two landing centers; installation of RO plant for clean water supply along with solar system compatible with RO on two landing centers.

It further includes expansion of existing floating pontoon on two jetties; establishment an management of field offices (porta cabin); establishment of check posts (porta cabin); installation of chillers / flake ice machines on boats; provision of fish handling equipment to small boats and traders, including Iceboxes, Fish crates and Fish baskets; replacing harmful fishing gears with sustainable gear; sensitization of unsustainable and illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; alter at least 50 fishing trawlers to sustainable fishing boats (gillnetters etc; and monitoring of fishing boats movement through installation of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) on boats

Utilization of Salinized Land: Utilization of Salinized Land Caused by Sea Intrusion for Aquaculture. This project has also different components including establishment of Model Demonstration Aquaculture Farm; establish model farms for backyard culturing of fin fish and shellfish; livelihoods and family nutrition support for women /family; backyard aquaculture ponds on not more than one-acre area with all required facilities for women and families of coastal areas; provision of expert / technical services for backyard aquaculture systems; support for improving fish drying practices for women entrepreneurs; establishing 24/7 extension services for target districts and training and exposure of 1000 farmers and fishermen.

The chief minister said that those projects were already approved for the current financial year. He added that he wanted to start work on them at the earliest. The federal minister assured the chief minister that their funds would be released at the earliest so that the project could be started.

Miani Forest: The chief minister said that the Eco-Tourism Village at Miani Forest Hyderabad was a Rs645 million project. He added that the mini forest was located 13 km from Hyderabad city via Hyderabad Bypass.

According to the CM, the site had attracted recreational forest area due to its natural beauty and is considered a historical place. Mini Forest is on the National Highway which makes it easily accessible and connects it with all major cities of the province. The project will have a catchment area comprising not only Hyderabad but Karachi and other major regions.

Manchhar Lake: The CM talking about Co-Tourism Recreational Activities at Manchar Lake said that it was a Rs.910 million scheme. “Manchar is the largest shallow freshwater lake in Pakistan and it plays an important role as a natural habitat,” he said and added that therefore, it was environmentally very important.

The lake supports numerous fisherfolk who depend on the fishes in the lake, Mr Shah said and added the water of the lake used to be clear but environmental degradation had dropped the quality of the lake.

The CM said that the main Nara Valley Drain had led the lake to undergo environmental degradation. “The road leading toward Manchar lake is from the old Indus Highway which makes it easily accessible and connects it with all major cities of Sindh,” the CM said and added the project would have a catchment area comprising not only Hyderabad but also Karachi and other major regions.

Sherry urged the provincial government to prepare both the schemes of eco-tourism and approve them from PDWP and then send the same to the federal government. She added the federal government would fund the scheme through NDRMF or from any other source.