KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party-led government’s oft-quoted development packages for Karachi, as well as some key districts in Sindh, are all set to complete by June 2013, which is why the government has allocated very little ‘new’ money for the projects, planning to carry forward the funds unspent in the outgoing year.
For example, the Lyari Development Package, aimed at appeasing a ‘loyal’ constituency that in recent months has been threatening to slip out of the party’s hands, does not have any new funding in 2012-2013. The Sindh government has not allocated new funds for the package, but will spend the remaining Rs800 million allocated in the previous fiscal year.
The Lyari project includes five schemes – renovation and improvement of 41 primary and secondary schools, three playgrounds including Kakri Ground, roads and streets in Lyari Town and a block allocation of Rs340 million. As of June 2012, the government has spent Rs521 million, while the estimated cost for the entire package was Rs1.32 billion.
Other Karachi packages are for Malir – another constituency that the PPP plans to win in the next general elections – as well as Keamari and Karachi central, rural and east districts, and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.
The Sindh government will continue funding packages for the Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana and Sukkur districts, which are also important for the PPP’s presence in the province.
The provincial budget allocates Rs10.6 billion for the 12 development packages in the province. While most of the schemes are for the development and rehabilitation of schools, healthcare facilities and road networks, in Hyderabad, the government plans to spend Rs113 million on supplying and installing solar/sodium street lights.
The new funding listed in the budget is for schemes in the Karachi central region and Mirpurkhas. The District Central will get Rs100 million and Mirpurkhas will get Rs500 million; the former allocation will undoubtedly help bolster the PPP’s coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the dominant party in District Central.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.