KARACHI: Amid allegations of corruption, bad governance and nepotism in Sindh, the members of opposition parties winded up their speeches on day six of the budget session on Saturday. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah will conclude the debate before the budget will be passed today (Sunday).
A session has been summoned today as the government had earlier announced to pass the budget by September 30.
Forget budget, Sindh lawmakers refuse to budge from hurling insults
Responding to opposition parties' budget speech and criticism on ignoring Karachi, Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani, waving official documents in his hand claimed, "We have spent around Rs192 billion in the last ten years on Karachi's development." Around 204 different schemes of Rs181 billion have been planned for Karachi in this budget, he said, adding that a few schemes will be finished in a year and some others will take more time.
"For this, we have earmarked Rs44.5 billion in the current fiscal year," said Ghani, refuting the lawmakers' allegations that the K-IV project was being devised to provide water to a privately developed township. "This scheme was initiated before PPP [Pakistan Peoples Party] came into power in 2008," he said, adding that his department was revamping the Dhabeji pumping station which will be finalised by February, 2019.
Regarding the opposition's allegations on spending Rs90 billion on the Larkana package, Ghani said a total Rs28 billion has been spent on Larkana since 2008." He said that Rs16.6 billion was allocated from 2008 to 2013, of which Rs12 billion were released and Rs9 billion spent. In the second tenure, the Sindh government allocated Rs24 billion and the finance department released Rs21 billion and around Rs18 billion were spent. "The expenditure in Thar is more than in Larkana," he said.
Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Firdous Shamim Naqvi questioned why the government had failed to develop Karachi on a par with Malaysia and Singapore. "Why has the PPP government failed to provide roti, kapra aur makan envisaged by its leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto?" he asked.
Will the real Bhutto please stand up?
In an emotional speech, Haleem Adil Shaikh of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said that the people of Sindh were forced to drink gutter water and despite billion of rupees funds, there was no proper irrigation system in Thar. "India has developed its irrigation system. The people are happy and well off over there," he said. He drew the House's attention towards 700 reverse osmosis plants lying non-functional in Thar and said, "I want to know about the update of Asia's biggest RO plant, which has been closed for some time."
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2018.
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