Aerial view of a village developed to resettle local Thari people displaced due to the coal mining project in Thar Block-II in Islamkot area of Tharparkar. Image Credit: Supplied

Karachi: The Sindh Government is well on track to develop Islamkot, a faraway locality in the poverty-stricken Thar desert area of the province, as a model town in the country to achieve the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah stated this as he met a delegation of under-training officers of Pakistan Customs Service.

The Sindh government has been pursuing the method of public-private partnership to develop Islamkot as the country’s first SDGs-compliant town along with the project being undertaken there to extract coal for production of electricity through the indigenous energy resource.

The provincial government has been collaborating with the Thar Foundation-a non-profit comprising of different private sector stakeholders working in Tharparkar-to work in the areas of education, health care, livelihoods, infrastructure, water, gender equality, and disaster management to uplift Islamkot.

Currently, Tharparkar-of which Islamkot is a part-is ranked 109th out of 114th districts of Pakistan on the Human Development Index as 87 per cent of its population suffers from the multi-dimensional poverty.

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary informed the delegation that the coal reserves in block-6 of Thar coal area would be extracted to produce gas, urea, and liquid fuel. He said the Sindh government had built and restored 318 kilometres-long roads, reverse osmosis water filtration plants, model villages, and other development projects in the Thar area.

He said that provincial government budget for ongoing financial year 2020-21 had allocation of Rs 232.94 billion for carrying out 2246 development projects in Sindh.

Law and order

He said that the after restoration of the law and order situation the provincial government had been working to upgrade civic infrastructure of Karachi-the capital city of Sindh.

He said the educational, cultural, and commercial activities had got accelerated in Karachi due to restoration of law and order.

He said the Sindh government had sought the assistance of the global financial institutions to carry out the development schemes of Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project, Competitive and Livable City of Karachi, Karachi Water & Sewerage Improvement Project, and Bus Rapid Transit Service in the city.

Additional Inspector General of Police Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh informed the delegation on the occasion that in 2013 Karachi was ranked sixth on World Crime Index as in the present day Karachi was like nowhere among top 60 cities of the same ranking. He said that lately the Sindh Police in a successful operation had countered the attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange building in Karachi.

He said that police had carried out joint operations with the Customs and arrested some 11057 accused persons involved in smuggling and drug peddling. The narcotics of different forms had been recovered from these accused persons.