Children deaths in Thar: CM suspends inefficient officials, announces compensation

KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Friday took strict action against officials found guilty of negligence in providing heath and food facilities to drought-hit Thar.

Talking to media at CM House, Shah said that 41 children died of malnutrition due to officials slackness in January and February, 2014, however, the government would give Rs 200,000 compensation to each victim family.

He said that the Medical Superintendent (MS) of the District Hospital Tharparkar was found guilty of negligence and not taking suitable action despite the deaths. “The MS has been suspended while an inquiry against his criminal negligence was initiated.”

He said that director and deputy director of the livestock department and director health were also suspended, while criminal inquiry will be initiated against them. He said that Superintendent of Police and deputy commissioner of the area were also transferred after this situation.

“DIG Hyderabad Sanaullah Abbasi will investigate this matter while senior PPP leader Taj Haider will also spend a month in Tharparkar to unveil the facts behind the deaths.”

Shedding light on the situation that caused the drought, Qaim said that the government had declared Thar as drought-affected area four months ago, it happened due to extreme cold not only in the area but also in other parts of the province.

He said that the current situation was created due to extreme cold which not only destroyed fields but also affected newborn children who ultimately suffered from severe pneumonia.

He said that almost 1.6 million people live in Tharparkar but majority of them live in slums that also caused more people to get affected from the pneumonia. He said that the government had sent 60,000 wheat bags to distribute free of cost among the people of Thar, who were facing severe shortage of food.

He said that the government would also distribute 60,000 more wheat bags worth 100 million among the people to avert such disaster. “A committee comprising a member provincial assembly, assistant commissioner and journalist will oversee the distribution.”

He admitted that the government machinery in the area was unable to distribute the wheat bags among the people which caused malnutrition and drought-like situation forcing the people to starve.

He said that the provincial government would provide medicines worth 10 million to the district headquarter hospital in Tharparkar while different small level hospitals would also be upgraded.

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