Religious, minority affairs funds unutilised

Scholarships and business grants could not be used

Shahid Hameed April 29, 2021
K-P Chief Secretary Azam Khan directs the Auqaf Department to immediately work out a plan. PHOTO: FILE


The Auqaf, Hajj, Religious and Minorities Affair Department has failed completely to utilize its Rs370.20 million funds in the first 10 months of this fiscal year in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

Official sources told The Express Tribune that out of the Rs370 million allocated funds around Rs350 million were released by the Finance Department but the Religious Affairs Department only managed to utilize Rs110.93 million funds.

“It is interesting to note that this year Rs160.43 million were allocated for religious affairs in the K-P but the expenditures stand at Rs90.14 million despite the fact that the Finance Department has released Rs170.50 million,” said the official, adding that like all other departments and ministries the Religious and Minorities Affair Department failed to utilize its funds properly in K-P.

“In the PTI government we often see that the availability of funds is not a problem but its utilization is another story,” said the official, adding that due to this many projects could not be completed in time and as a result there was no progress on ground as compared to the previous governments.

This fiscal year funds were released for the construction of jinazgahs and boundary walls around the graveyards and Rs25 million were spent on the construction of mosques and seminaries. But the funds meant for the development of eidgahs could not be utilized for reasons unknown.

“Around Rs3.8 million were spent on the establishment of ten model seminaries in the province in which five are for boys and five for girls,” said the officials, adding that Rs10 million were allocated to increase the performance and capacity of the Religious Affairs Department out of which only Rs6.5 million were spent.

Also read Govt earmarks Rs170m for 21 Auqaf schemes

Likewise, Rs20 million were allocated for scholarships to the seminary students in which just Rs52000 were spent and the rest remained unutilized.

Another Rs1.5 million were approved as grants to the religious seminaries but this amount could not be utilized. Yet another amount of Rs8 million also remained unused meant for the procurement of land for graveyards in the province despite the fact that the availability of graveyards is a serious problem in large cities, especially in Peshawar.

“Government has allocated two million rupee for the capacity building of the religious students but out of this only one million were used,” he said.

Similarly, Rs200 million were allocated for the Minority Affairs in which Rs180 million were released by the department concerned but Rs20.78 million were used.

“Rs10 million were allocated for the school of Sikh community in Peshawar which could not be utilized altogether. The amount allocated for the scholarship of minorities’ children, house schemes, business development small grants for the minorities could not be utilized altogether,” they said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2021.


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