Not enough funds for 22 ICT projects

Zahid Gishkori July 31, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The completion of 22 ongoing projects in the rural areas of Islamabad is now uncertain because the federal government cut funds of Rs287.5 million in 2009-10. Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) was allocated Rs650 million for the rural areas under the head of Public Sector Development Projects (PSDP) in 2009-10 by the government.

But only Rs362.5 million were released for the new schemes. ICT has sent a request to the government to release the remaining funds so that the ongoing development projects can be completed.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Aamir Ahmed Ali told The Express Tribune that ICT would first focus on completing the ongoing projects. He said that ICT will try to complete these projects on a “now or never bases” in 2010-11. He added that despite the passage of several months, the Planning Commission of Pakistan (PCP), which is ICT’s other major source of revenue, had also not released the funds ICT was promised.

PCP, according to Assistant Director Rural Government ICT Hasan Abbas, had allocated Rs351 million for development projects around Islamabad in 2009-10, but only released Rs278 million.

One of the ongoing projects, according to DC Aamir, includes an updated map of Islamabad. The new map would include the areas Bani Gala, British Homes Colony, CBR Town, Burma Town, Anchorage Naval Housing Scheme, B-17, Alipur Frash, AWT, Judicial Town, Korang Town, Ghauri Town, New Shakrial, PAF Tarnol, Sihala, Tarlai, Wapda Town and Top City 1.

The ICT has also launched a project that once completed, would help dispose off the garbage from Bhara Kahu, DC Aamir added.

The ICT’s focus, DC Aamir said, was to help the farmers in the rural areas around Islamabad.

“Agriculture Services Department of ICT has planned to establish an Agri Farm for the welfare of small farmers. [There are plans to] introduce new agri instruments and other necessary equipments for better cultivation,” he explained.

Director Agriculture ICT Rana Akbar Hayat said that the ICT was negotiating with the Ministry of Power and Water to chalk out a strategy to reserve water for Agri Farms.

“We approached the concerned quarter of Water and Power Ministry for immediate help in overcoming an acute shortage of water for cultivation of more crops in dozens of villages,” he said.

Deputy Director Rural Areas ICT Hassan Abbas was of the view that the federal government needs to make arrangements for supply of enough water for sufficient irrigation of crops.

“The ICT may have been able to arrange some water from nearby dams if the government had released funds in time. Many farms failed due to acute shortage of water,” he explained.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2010.


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