RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has diverted Rs1 billion development funds for Rawalpindi district to Metro Bus Project for twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad.

As a result, the district government had to abandon different development projects including a burn unit at Holy Family Hospital, 60-bed hospital in Rawat and water supply schemes at least for this year.

Other districts of Rawalpindi Division including Jhelum, Attock and Chakwal managed to get their share of the development budget last month. The provincial government had allocated Rs1 billion for the development of city in December and sought project layout plan not only from PML-N MNAs and MPAs but also from its local leadership.

The schemes included Burn Unit in Holy Family Hospital (Rs200 million), 60-bed hospital in Rawat (Rs300 million), Park at Rawal Road (Rs100 million), roads and water supply schemes in Rawalpindi, Kotli Sattian, Murree and Gujar Khan (Rs600 million).

When contacted, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajid Zafar Dall said that the provincial government had allocated Rs2.4 billion under ‘Large City Package’ which were to be released in three years, and the CDGR was due to get first installment of Rs1 billion this year.

“Under the directions of the provincial government, the CDGR had prepared the schemes for big projects like hospitals, parks and sports facilities in the garrison city,” he said and added that the schemes had been approved by Lahore.

He admitted the funds had been stopped and it had been diverted to Metro Bus Project as it is the main development work in the district. He said that the Punjab financial department had informed the district government in this regard.

The diversion of funds, however, drew flak from the opposition parties and even ruling party leaders.

“The provincial government is not interested in development schemes in the garrison city because it did not send PML-N men in assemblies,” said AML President and MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed while talking to Dawn.

He said what one should expect from the government when it stopped the work launched in the city in 2006 and 2007, alluding to Leh Expressway and Mother and Child Hospital.

“The government has started the bus project for few people and destroyed the business of the traders,” he said.

PTI Punjab Vice-President Raja Tariq Mehboob Kiani said if the government had not had enough money it should not have started such projects. “The government has launched the project for cheap popularity and ignored the real problems of the city,” he said.

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