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ISLAMABAD: The ministry of Planning and Reforms is set to approve Rs2.2billion for ongoing development schemes of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and a Rs2billion funding for new development schemes.

“Collectively, the planning commission agreed to approve Rs4.2 billion for development schemes of PSB, which will be made part of the upcoming PSDP,” said PSB spokesman Azam Dar.

He said that planning commission authorised the PSB and ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) to prepare new development schemes up-to Rs2billion for the upcoming budget and is optimistic that the federal government will allocate Rs 4.2billion for ongoing and new schemes.

He said that Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coor­d­ination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada has been pursuing the case to get maximum budget for new development schemes.

“If need arises, the minister is also planning to meet prime minister for getting maximum funds for development schemes of sports,” he said.

However, there are growing rumours in the PSB that the planning commission has been objecting new development schemes under the pretext of devolution of sports to provinces under 18th constitutional amendment.

There are also rumours that planning commission recently didn’t consider 11 new sports-related schemes of IPC, which are for various provinces and regions.

The new proposed schemes are included construction of Loralai football ground, construction of Lyari football ground, and cricket academy in Fata.

However, some officials of PSB said that planning commission could not reject new schemes as a few years ago it approved a mega project worth Rs3billion for construction of Sports Complex Narowal — the home constituency of Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, which is near completion.

“I don’t think, there is any seriousness in rumours… when planning commission didn’t object on Narowal Sports Complex scheme, how it can raise objections on sports-related schemes of IPC for various provinces, Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan,” commented an officer of ministry of IPC. He added that this is the last budget of incumbent government and it has been a routine of the successive governments to allocate more budget in the last year.

Dar said that the new schemes were not rejected but the planning commission directed the PSB to finalise the news schemes within Rs2billion.

“In coming days, after approval of competent forum, we will refer new schemes to planning commission for approval,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2018