KARACHI: Slow pace of work on University Road has upset Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who asked Karachi Commissioner Ejaz Khan to explain why the work is so slow.
Shah asked the commissioner to submit a report with his response within two days. “I want to know whether the sluggishness is on the part of the contractor or government officials,” he said.
Presiding over a review meeting on the provincial and district annual development programme (ADP) on Saturday, Shah stressed the need for timely completion of development work in each and every district. If any deputy commissioner does not take interest in the uplift of his district, he will be removed, he warned.
Plans vs reality
The government allocated a Rs200 billion provincial development budget for 2016-2017 to execute 2,773 schemes, including 1,777 on-going ones and 996 new ones, said planning and development department’s additional chief secretary Mohammad Waseem. The finance department released Rs116.2 billion, which is 58% of the total budget and that is a record in itself, he added.
A total of Rs50.7 billion have been utilised on the on-going schemes while Rs1.3 billion have been spent on new schemes, he pointed out.
Shah said the utilisation of funds has become better but he still stressed on improvement. He directed the planning and development department’s chairperson to form different teams to inspect on-going projects and prepare progress reports for him.
Reading out from a factsheet, Shah said that Shikarpur was allocated Rs840.8 million and the government released Rs393.7 million but only 15% of these funds were utilised. Similarly, Naushero Feroz was allocated Rs687.6 million and the government released Rs275.1 million but only 25% of the funds were spent. Shah pointed out that most districts, such as Kashmore-Kandhkot, Sujawal, Umerkot and Matiari, have failed to come up with the pace and targets he has set for development.
On the development budget for districts, Waseem said the government allocated Rs25 billion out of which more than 50% funds were released but only 37% were utilised. Upset with this number, Shah took the divisional commissioner on video call and expressed his displeasure that some of the deputy commissioners were not taking interest in the development of their districts. He asked Waseem to arrange another review meeting for each and every district.
All commissioners were told to make sure their deputies are actively working otherwise they will be shown out the door. “Those who are unwilling workers and do not bother to move in the field have no place in this team,” he said.
The chief minister asked the officials to give priority to on-going schemes so that they can be completed in time. The new schemes, which have yet to be started, can be held until then, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2017.
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