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RAWALPINDI: In a major development, the Punjab government on Saturday returned Rs38 million special budget it had withdrawn last week from the education department, Rawalpindi.

Now the government has directed the executive district officer (EDO) for education to carry out development schemes in schools.

Last week, the Punjab government, without giving any reason, withdrew Rs720 million from education departments of the province. Out of a total of Rs720 million special budget for the provision of missing facilities in schools, Rs38 million was for the education department Rawalpindi.

“Today, I was told by the authorities concerned that the government has decided not to withdraw the special budget. The deputy secretary planning for Punjab directed me to carry out the development schemes,” said EDO education Rawalpindi, Qazi Zahoorul Haq.

Replying to a question, the EDO said that he was not aware of other districts, but the government’s decisions are for all the districts.

“Since they had withdrawn the special budget from all schools, I think that the government can’t reverse its decision for only one district,” the EDO said.

The special budget worth millions of rupees, was earmarked in 2013 to provide missing facilities in government schools across the province.

The special budget is supposed to be spent on the provision of clean drinking water, construction of toilets, boundary walls and the purchase of furniture.

“At least 83 schemes of construction of boundary walls around the girls schools are underway. Following last week’s development, we were about to cancel these projects. However, now we will complete them in the next few weeks,” Mr Qazi said.

Meanwhile, Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) Rawalpindi chapter hailed the government decision of not withdrawing the special budget.

“This is a wise and education friendly decision of the government. We appreciate it, and demand the government to release sufficient budget in the next fiscal year, as hundreds of schools are still facing shortage of basic necessities,” said President PTU Rawalpindi Shahid Mubarik Raja.

He added that in the rural areas of the districts there were dozens of schools which faced a shortage of furniture, toilets and even clean drinking water.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2014