PESHAWAR, July 21: A sense of urgency prevails among the members of provincial assembly as they want to spend the Rs2.48 billion funds of Tameer-i-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Programme (TKPP) for the current financial year in the next few months.
Official sources told Dawn that MPAs, belonging to treasury and opposition benches, were in haste to get their proposed schemes approved from the district development committees concerned so that they could be released the TKPP funds.
“All (members) are trying to get their development schemes approved at the earliest and spend the money, otherwise, the fund would lapse,” said Shazia Tehmas, a lawmaker of Pakistan People’s Party, when contacted.
The elected legislature is scheduled to complete its five-year constitutional term in March 2013, making the elected representatives to use most of the development funds at their disposal in the first nine months of the current financial year.
TKPP is a special programme under which all 124 members of the provincial assembly are allotted a quota of Rs20 million each to carry out small development schemes in their respective constituencies.
A local government and rural development official said the process of granting approval to TKPP schemes had already begun as a few of the treasury members had already sent their requests for releasing the required funds.
“I don’t know what they will do to spend 100 per cent TKPP funds this year since they don’t have full 12 months at their hand,” said the official, adding the funds would be released as soon as approved schemes of MPAs were forwarded to them.
The official planners see the programme with a sense of suspicion, viewing it as wastage of public money.
“The public purse concept introduced by the federal government is highly unethical as the successive chief executives have been using it to influence the opposition party members,” said a development planner.
Another official planner sounded the same as, according to him, the sitting chief minister, too, has been using TKPP as his sole discretion to please or influence the MPAs.
Nighat Orakzai, a Pakistan Muslim League-Q MPA, told Dawn she had heard the government was not releasing funds to the opposition members this year.
She said that government intended to spend the entire Rs2.48 billion TKPP funds on the treasury members’ schemes to take advantage of the public funds in the election year.
“The treasury members have already been released TKPP funds on July 5, 2012, while opposition members have heard nothing about their allotted quota of public funds,” said Ms Orakzai.
MPA Israrullah Gandapur told Dawn that some 66 MPAs had been released funds. “All of them belong to the parties in power (ANP and PPP) or its allies,” said Mr Gundapur, who is among the coalition government’s allies.
He said that he had not been released funds because he had not yet submitted application for the release of the funds, which was a must in line with the process the government had underlined for releasing TKPP funds to the MPAs.
Apart from him, there are three other MPAs who, according to Gundapur, are supporting the provincial government in their individual capacity.
“We have spent four good years together, therefore, I am hopeful that the government would release the TKPP funds to all of its allies,” said the MPA from Dera Ismail Khan, adding that the government appeared to be in mood to release funds to only the MPAs belonging to ANP and PPP.
Mr Gandapur was among a group of opposition MPAs in the last provincial assembly that had filed a case against the Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal government in 2007 after it did not release TKPP funds to the opposition members in the legislature’s fifth and final legislative year.
“The sitting chief minister seems to be impressed by former MMA government chief minister Akram Durrani as he consults him whenever he needs and now he has adopted the path that Mr Durrani had walked in his last year in the public office,” Ms Orakzai said.
She added that she contacted Chief Minister Hoti in connection with her TKPP funds, but, according to her, he did not return her telephone call.