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SAHIWAL: Each union council (UC) and ward will get Rs2.5 million and Rs0.5 million development funds, respectively, under the Khadam-i-Punjab Saaf Dehat Programme.

The development schemes will include construction of streets, cleanliness, repair and laying of sewerage and electricity projects in villages. The UCs and wards’ chairman, secretaries and councilors have been asked to submit their development schemes until Nov 25. All schemes will be completed before February 2018.

This was stated by Provincial Minister for Planning and Development Malik Nadeem Kamran while addressing a gathering of about 100 chairmen and secretaries of UCs and wards at Jinnah Hall on Monday.

“The provincial government has allocated Rs19bn for the purpose for 36 districts of Punjab,” he added.

Says all uplift schemes to be completed till February

Mr Kamran urged the UC chairmen and wards’ councilors to identify schemes on need-based assessment.

He said each rural UC would be given additional Rs200,000 for cleaning of villages until Dec 10 and of this amount, Rs100,000 would be provided by the provincial government and Rs100,000 would be collected from internal resources of the UCs.

“The programme will be carried out under the Local Government Development Package,” the minister added

A local government senior officer, privy to the situation, told Dawn that this was first major development funds shift from the Punjab government to the local government’s elected representatives both in urban and rural areas.

Many say that by releasing huge development funds for rural areas through UC office-bearers, the PML-N is trying to win constituents for the upcoming general election.

A steering committee had been formed at district level to disperse the funds. District Council Chairman Zahid Iqbal and Deputy Commissioner Shaukat Ali Khichi are its convener and co-convener, respectively. At the tehsil level, assistant commissioner (revenue) will handle the matters and deputy director local government and community development will be its secretary.

Talking to Dawn, Shaukat Khichi said all had been asked to submit development schemes until Nov 25.

While elaborating the process, the DC said schemes would be finalised till Nov 28 and they would move for public tenders before the end of December 2017. All identified and approved development schemes would be completed by Feb 28.

Dawn has learnt that the DC Office is authorized to release funds, monitor and approve schemes.

The PML-N parliamentarians, including MNAs Ch Ashraf, Azhar Munir and Muhammad Tufail Jutt, MPA Malik Arshad, District Council Chairman Chaudhry Zahid Iqbal and Mayor Asad Khan Baloch were also present.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017