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CHITRAL: The district council here on Friday passed Rs4.21billion budget for the fiscal year 2018-19, which included Rs3.83 billion for salaries, Rs166.35 million for non-salary expenses, Rs14 million for district council grants and Rs200 million for development projects.

Chaired by its convener Maulana Abdul Shakoor, the budget session continued for three days before its conclusion in which the members of both the treasury and opposition groups expressed their anger over inordinate delay in the release of annual development plan (ADP) of 2017 by the provincial government due to which development projects identified by them could not be started.

They urged the government to release the budget of ADP and district council grants for the year in its entirety instead of piecemeal allocations on quarterly basis which created difficulties for them.

Members claim food dept supplying low quality wheat to the district

The members, including Maulana Jamshed Ahmed, Rahmat Ghazi Khan, Maulana Abdur Rahman, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammad Yaqub, Ghulam Mustafa advocate, Rahmat Elahi, Riaz Ahmed and Husool Begum, complained that the food department had provided stale wheat to its warehouses in Chitral infested with worms. They claimed that warehouses of the department in all the union councils were full of such substandard wheat and the people were left with no option but to buy wheat flour from the market at exorbitant rates.

They also expressed annoyance over the closure of Lowari tunnel for public transport for 16 hours a day, saying the passengers were made to wait on both sides of the tunnel for hours while the project had been completed last year.

They also criticised the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation for power outages in upper Chitral despite availability of electricity from the Golen Gol Hydropower Project. The absence of different facilities and doctors in the primary healthcare centres in different union councils, including Khot, Arandu, Mulkhow and Karimabad, also came under discussion and the councillors asked the government to redress the grievances.

The issue of rising number of suicide cases of young boys and girls in the district was also discussed and they demanded a proper study to ascertain the real causes for this. They urged the local police to check each and every case of suicide as in some instances it was suspected the girls had been killed in the garb of suicide.

District nazim Maghfirat Shah said they would extend full support to Prime Minister Imran Khan so that Chitral could be converted into a model district.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018