KARACHI: The anti-corruption establishment (ACE) has been ordered by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to conduct an inquiry into the incomplete construction of Kunri Mirch Mandi (spice market) and to see why the schemes have not seen the light of the day when the allocated funds worth Rs195.9 million have been released and utilised.
Shah issued these directions while presiding over a review meeting of the agriculture department's development schemes at CM House on Saturday. The meeting was attended by finance minister Murad Ali Shah, agriculture minister Sardar Ali Nawaz Maher, chief secretary Siddique Memon, principal secretary Alamuddin Bullo, additional chief secretary Muhammad Waseem, agriculture secretary Shahid Gulzar Shaikh and others.
Kunri Mirch Mandi
Agriculture secretary Shaikh said that three schemes worth Rs257.34 million have not been completed by the works and services department, despite having spent the entire allocated amount. He added that the department was now demanding an additional amount of Rs612.9 million for the completion of the schemes, which happens to be 300% more than the original amount that was approved.
Shaikh said that the Mirch Mandi at Kunri, Umerkot district, was launched for Rs195.9 million and the executing agency of the project is the works and services department. The entire cost of the project has been released and utilised but the project is still at plinth level.
Expressing his displeasure for the delay in the completion, the CM said that the chilli market in Kunri was one of the most important projects. With Sindh producing 90% of the chillies in the country, this is one of Asia's largest markets at Kunri.
"This scheme was envisaged to increase export of chilli and make the market a hub of the country," said the CM.
The CM ordered the chief secretary to refer the matter to the ACE and to report back to him.
Other incomplete schemes
Giving details of another scheme of repair work of the directorate training buildings of the Directorate of Agriculture, agriculture secretary said that it was launched for Rs46.3 million, of which, Rs46.3 million have been released and spent. However, the schemes are still incomplete and a demand of Rs6.9 million has been made for completion.
On the remaining work of Pesticides Testing Laboratory in Tando Jam, the agriculture secretary said that it was launched for Rs15.1 million and Rs14.1 million have been spent so far. However, an additional Rs6 million were demanded for its completion, too. The CM asked the additional chief secretary to inspect and review the schemes before revising them.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2016.