MQM-P approaches court over establishment of medical college in Hyderabad

Scheme approved a decade ago but project far from completion, say petitioners


Our Correspondent April 13, 2021
Sindh High Court building. PHOTO: EXPRESS

HYDERABAD:

As the establishment of a Sindh government-funded medical college in Hyderabad has been delayed for almost six years so far, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan has taken the matter to Sindh High Court.

The party's deputy convener Kanwar Naveed Jameel and three MPAs from Hyderabad, including Muhammad Rashid Khilji, Nadeem Ahmed Siddiqui and Nasir Hussain Qureshi submitted a petition in Hyderabad circuit bench on Monday.

"The medical college's scheme was approved 10 years ago but the project is still far from completion," deplored Jameel, while speaking to the media outside the court. He also blamed the Sindh government for not providing land for the establishment of the varsity funded by the federal government. He claimed that the MQM-P's lawmakers had also met Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah with regards to the allotment of land but they received nothing except hollow assurances. He said that no new college, university or hospital has been built in Karachi or Hyderabad during the last 12 years of the Pakistan Peoples Party's 'racist' rule in the province.

According to the petition, the development scheme titled, Medical College at Hyderabad, was approved on March 16, 2012, and the same was included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the fiscal year 2012-13. The college's construction subsequently started in Gulistan-e-Sarmast in Latifabad, Hyderabad's largest public-sector housing scheme consisting more than 33,500 plots, but that is itself years away from completion. The college's estimated cost of construction in the financial year 2012-13 was Rs1394.47 million and the project was supposed to be completed by June, 2015.

The scheme was reflected in the budgets 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 vide scheme numbers 518, 797 and 459, respectively. First, the completion period was extended to June 2017, and later to June 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. The provincial government has so far utilised Rs943.53m, which is around 67 percent of the total cost, while around Rs450m are yet to be spent.

"The petitioners have conducted a number of meetings with the respondents but [they] went in vain. The respondents always kept the petitioners on hollow hopes without assigning any cogent, plausible, logical, lawful and legal reasons," reads the petition.

They argued that the provincial government is not even giving importance to the Sindh Assembly, where these schemes are passed by its members in the annual budgets. "...if the above-said scheme would have been completed in 2015, the same medical college would be producing qualified doctors."

The petitioners also express the fear that the government intended to hand over the incomplete building of the college to some non-governmental organisation (NGO). They pleaded with the court to direct the respondents to complete the project by June 2022 and that no further extension should be made.

They also prayed the court to restrain the government from handing over the college to any NGO.

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