LAHORE, Jan 4: Responding to reservations of some public circles about mega projects in the provincial government, the Public Accounts Committee-I of the Punjab Assembly has sought details of the Metro Bus and Daanish schools projects.

It has also asked the finance department to furnish it with information about the quantum of internal and external debt, mark-up thereon and terms and conditions of loans.

In a right but much-delayed development, PAC-I chairman Chaudhry Zaheer has written to the Lahore Development Authority director general (on Jan 2) to seek estimated cost of the Metro Bus project, expenses incurred so far, period and date of completion, number of overhead bridges and underpasses, and the amount set apart as payment of compensation for the properties acquired for the project.The communiqué says the body may also desire an elaborate briefing on the project after the ongoing Punjab Assembly session.

In a similar letter to the education secretary, the PAC chairman sought the number of Daanish schools planned to be established and the locations thereof, cost of each unit and financial details of the operating schools. The secretary is also required to prepare a briefing for the committee.

Through yet another letter, the finance secretary has been asked to provide details of internal and external debts of Punjab up to Dec 31, 2007, the loans obtained after this date and their mark-up rate and conditions.

Admitting that unlike its federal counterpart the provincial forum lacks suo motu powers to extract information from or act against any department, Chaudhry Zaheer says the attempt is aimed at initiating accountability process for the projects so far skipping official scrutiny.

He says the PAC will scrutinise the departmental response while deciding audit objections about the projects, while its members also have the right to know details of the projects under the access to information law.

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