KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister, Murad Ali Shah would take up cost escalation issue of Greater Karachi Bulk Water (K-IV) project with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan. In this connection, he has directed Planning and Development (P&D) chairman Muhammad Waseem to head committee comprising experts of provincial government, water board and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) to go through all estimates once again and firm up their recommendations so that he could talk to prime minister. However, he issued categorical instructions to P&D and FWO to continue work on project so that it could be completed by the end of next year. In order to complete K-IV water project he chaired a high-level meeting to settle all issues, including the rising cost of project which was being estimated at Rs 75 billion. Project Director said that K-IV project was a 650 million gallon per day (MGD) project of potable water to be executed in three phases. The first phase of project is meant for 260 MGD with a length of around 121 kilometres (km) starting from Kinjhar Lake, district Thatta and ending at Deh Allah Phihai, district Malir. He said that the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved Rs 25.551 billion K-IV in 2014 and cost of project was based on rates of 2010. He said that the federal government had committed to share 50 percent cost of project while remaining 50 percent was being borne by provincial government. He informed the meeting that the project was scheduled to be completed in three years in 2019. The Sindh government awarded project to FWO for Rs 28.187 billion in June 2016. In addition to other essential components of K-IV project such as augmentation project, missing components of K-IV project such as ancillary works, and 50 megawatt (MW) power plant to power two pumping stations were also to be developed. Reportedly, the PD of K-IV project had submitted augmentation project of Rs 18.6 billion (bn), including Rs 4 bn for land and utilities in P&D for its approval from PDWP. After its approval from P&D it would be sent to ECNEC for further approval. Chief Minister said that federal government should share 50 percent of cost of the project. The meeting was told that ancillary works amounting to Rs 9.8 bn had also been submitted in P&D for its approval from technical committee. Again, provincial government expects that federal government should also share 50 percent of cost. CM Murad had already decided to establish a 50 MW power project on PPP mode. This 50 MW project would have a provision to extend it to 100 MW. The chief minister was told that estimated cost of project may increase to Rs 45 bnfrom PC-1 cost of Rs 25.5 bn for reasons such as design and site issues, major deviations in quantities and exchange rate hike. Therefore, cost of K-IV thus would range from Rs 73.4 billion to Rs 75 billion. It is worth mentioning that the funds so far committed by federal and provincial governments are Rs 12.5 bn each. Now, both governments would have to make commitment for provision of Rs 37.5 billion. Karachi Corps Commander, Lt General Humayun Aziz, FWO DG, Major General, Inam Hyder Malik, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Water Board MD Khalid Shaikh, K-IV PD Asad Zamin and other senior officers of FWO attended meeting. Sindh govt to provide better education to deaf children Later in the day, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah said that there were 300,000 deaf children in the province and a majority of them did not have access to quality education. He said that he was committed to providing the best education to deaf children. This he said while presiding over a meeting convened to discuss a programme related to differently abled persons. During the meeting, CM Murad revealed that he planned on involving experts in order to encourage digital learning of sign language. He added that he wanted to focus on capacity building of teachers. DEAF Reach chief executive officer (CEO) Richard Geary said that CM’s objectives could be achieved by developing and making available Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) digital learning resources across Sindh and launching training programme for teachers across 51 Special Needs Centres in Sindh. “We will have to train around 500 teachers,” he said. CM Murad decided to create and develop Pakistan Sign Language learning resources at primary grade levels with focus on literacy and numeracy. The PSL digital resources would go on PSL portal with access across Sindh as per details. CM Murad decided that training for all teachers working in 51 Special Education Centres would be started under a teachers training programme. He said that the PSL resources would also be distributed in all centres and would also be installed in classrooms. The DEAF Reach team told chief minister that Sukkur Campus and Nawabshah campus had become over-crowded and needed expansion. The chief minister directed Special Education secretary to get Jacob Lines Complex, Karachi completed on war footings so that it could be utilised. He also discussed directives for making arrangement of a building in Nawabshah. CM said that education of differently-abled children was quite expensive in private sector. He said that many students in Sukkur Campus were on waiting list. “This shows that parents are interested to enrol their children in government schools to make them useful citizen of country,” he said. It was worked out that each student at government centres would cost Rs 6,800 per child to Sindh government. This cost includes tuition fee Rs 2,400, transportation Rs 1,500, lunch Rs 940, supplies for students Rs 700, vocational training and material Rs 360, medical care Rs 300, parents training programme Rs 300 and teachers training Rs 400. On this Murad Ali Shah said that it was a noble cause and he would not hesitate to invest for education of disabled children. Appreciating DEAF-reach, CM Murad said, “The DEAF Reach is a very good organisation and they are valuable partners of provincial governments.” Special Assistant of CM Qasim Naveed, a delegation of DEAF Reach comprising its CEO Richard Geary, Director Administration, Daniel Marc Lanthier, director development Ms Sarah Shaikh and other relevant officials. Published in Daily Times, October 31st 2018.