PESHAWAR: The recently ousted provincial minister for tourism and sports had spent a mere Rs710 million in the first seven months of the fiscal year 2019-20 out of a total allocation of Rs8 billion.
A source in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) finance department shared a document with The Express Tribune which showed that the former senior minister for tourism, sports and youth affairs Atif Khan had failed to utilise the major chunk of the budget allocated for projects of his ministry, despite the tall claims of progress he made.
The documents show that the provincial government had allocated Rs8 billion for the ministry of sports, tourism, archaeology, culture, museums and youth affairs in the financial year 2019-20. Moreover, the document showed that the K-P finance department had released over Rs3.41 billion for the ministry so far.
However, the ministry only utilised a paltry Rs710 million, leaving around Rs2.7 billion utilised.
In the last seven months, the documents showed that for sports promotion, over Rs2.16 billion had been allocated and the department had released only over Rs1.22 billion. But the ministry, under Atif Khan, had on only utilised Rs380 million even when hosting the first national games of the province for a decade.
Out of the Rs5.86 billion allocated for promoting and developing tourism in the province, the finance department had so far released only Rs1.6 billion. Even though Atif was seen to be pushing hard on promoting tourism in the province, the document showed that the tourism ministry had so far only utilised Rs1.19 billion.
For the archaeology section, the provincial government had allocated Rs460 million and the finance department had released Rs330 million of it. But the department had only utilised Rs91.6 million during the first seven months of the fiscal year.
A further Rs240 million had been allocated for youth affairs, out of which Rs200 million had been released and only Rs50 million had been spent so far.
The provincial government had claimed to have initiated several archaeological projects but none of them had been started so far. Rs150 million was allocated for the renovation of the centuries-old Mahabat Khan Mosque, but the project has yet to commence.
Several projects including the Hazara Museum with an allocated budget of Rs7.5 million, K-P’s biggest museum — Peshawar Museum — with budgetary allocation of Rs150 million, Nishtar-Hall Art Gallery with funds of Rs10 million, Swat Sports Complex with funds of Rs5 million, Nowshera Indoor Gymnasium with allocation of Rs45million, football ground at the Peshawar Qayyum Stadium have not been initiated yet.
According to the documents, construction on several sports facilities planned across the province has yet to commence. This includes the sports complexes planned for DI Khan, Mardan, Bannu, and Haripur with funds of Rs100 million allocated for each, construction of squash and badminton courts in Mardan with budgetary allocations of Rs292 million, and the construction of the Karak Sports Complex worth Rs12.9 million.
Other projects the provincial ministry failed to initiate include two sports stadiums in the provincial capital with an allocation of Rs30 million, Chamkani Lala Kali sports complex with a cost of Rs10 million.