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KARACHI: The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has sought safeguards to ensure transparent financial management of $80 million World Bank-financed Sindh Agriculture Growth project.

It has demanded of the Sindh government to set up an execution committee, consisting of growers and officials to ensure an honest appropriation of funds allocated for the project.

The WB will contribute $76.4m while the Sindh government will provide $3.6m for the project which is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2019.

The growth initiative is aimed at increasing productivity of rice, onion and chilli crops apart from development of the livestock in the province.

The chamber further demanded that the funds should not be utilised in buying luxurious vehicles and constructing buildings, and the entire money should be utilised for growth of crops and livestock.

SCA secretary general Nabi Bukhsh feared that if necessary safeguards were not provided, the expensive money may fall to corrupt practices.

He cited the example of installation of tube-wells with the WB assistance to fight salinity and water-logging. The provincial government raised the drainage cess from Rs6 per acre to Rs100 to recover the cost incurred on 32 tube-wells of which hardly eight are working.

The cess is being recovered from growers of even those districts where tube-wells were never installed.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2015

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