PESHAWAR: The Provincial Working Development Party (PDWP) on Thursday approved Rs1.77 billion for Peshawar Burns and Trauma Centre.

Additional Chief Secretary Mohammad Azam Khan chaired the forum, which approved 21 projects of various sectors with an estimated cost of Rs14.88 billion.

The much delayed project had recently turned into a bone of contention between relief, rehabilitation and settlement (RRS) and planning and development (P&D) departments, after the former raised several objections regarding funding, execution and other aspects of the venture.

Shahab Ali Shah, the secretary of planning and development department, told Dawn that the burns centre project would be executed by communication and works (C&W) department while funds would channelised through Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA), which worked under RRS department.

Official says project will be executed by C&W department; funds to be channelised through PaRRSA

He said that all objections of the RRS were addressed. “It is government’s commitment to complete the burns centre timely,” he said, adding that it would be first burns centre in the province to provide state-of-the-art treatment facilities to patients.

The project brief shared with the forum and available with Dawn says that it has been set up on 20-kanals provided by the department at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC).

The scheme had to be funded by the Workers Welfare Board (WWB). Work on the project, planned to be completed within two years, was launched back in 2010.

However, owing to slow release of funds, the project could not be completed within the stipulated time.

A revised PC-I of the project amounting Rs792.6 million was approved in principle by the governing body of WWB Islamabad, where it was decided that cost of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system would be rationalised and the case would be submitted for consideration.

However, the project could not approved owing stay over WWB governing body.

It said that the funds for the project would be arranged by USAID that would utilised by PaRRSA and civil work would be executed through C&W department. It said that the due to deletion of the project from Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), a PC-I costing Rs1.77 billion was prepared in coordination with other stakeholders.

Peshawar High Court (PHC) is presently hearing the matter after taking notice of absence of burns centre in Peshawar and later a senior lawyer and former deputy attorney general Mohammad Khurshid also petitioned the court as burn victims had to be taken to Punjab owing to absence of any such facility in the province.

On July 21, the RRS department wrote a letter to P&D department raising questions about fund commitments, procedures and high cost related to certain aspects of the project.

In its letter, RRS noted that USAID had only shown its willingness to provide $1.5 million for the project and no formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) was received by the department.

It said that finance department had also not promised additional funds for the project and initiating work without formal commitment could have serious implications.

RRS had also questioned PDWP’s approval of the project involving PaRRSA as its Provincial Steering Committee headed by chief secretary was the approving forum for schemes involving PaRRSA and not the PDWP.

“PDWP is the recommendatory body for schemes being submitted to the Central Development Working Party/ Executive Committee of National Economic Council due to the involvement of foreign aid component,” said RRS department.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2017

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