BATKHELA: The government is paying millions of rupees every year to rent private buildings in Malakand district for its offices and educational institutions.

Over 50 per cent government organisations across the district are functioning in rented buildings, shows the official data.

Among them are Passport Office, National Database and Registration Authority, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, wildlife department, Zakat office, Pakistan Baitul Mal, population welfare department, District Election Commission, excise and taxation department, industries department, Agriculture Bank, mines and mineral department, local government, and Pesco.

The Government Polytechnic College, Batkhela, and a Pakistan Baitul Mal school are also functioning in rented buildings.

Most of these offices are located in Batkhela, the headquarters of Malakand district.

The official data available with Dawn shows that Rs480,000 is paid annually as rent for Population Welfare Office Batkhela, Rs1.8 million for its Regional Training Institute, and Rs800,000 for 25 population welfare centers working across the district.

Similarly, Rs1.2 million rent is paid every year for Nadra office, Batkhela, Rs360,000 for Nadra office, Dargai, Rs480,000 for Election Commission office, Rs720,000 for excise and taxation office, Rs276,000 for Zakat office, Rs180,000 for Pakistan Baitul Mal office, Rs240,000 for Baitul Mal school, Rs636,000 for Government Polytechnic College, Batkhela, Rs9.6 million for Passport Office, and Rs672,000 for Pesco offices in Batkhela, Thana and Totakan.

According to assistant director (local government) Sarfaraz Khan,the district has 81 village and neighbourhood councils.

Only seven secretaries of the councils have offices in government buildings, while the rest work in rented buildings.

The local government pays from Rs60,000 to Rs100,000 annually for every rented office.

Accordingto realtor Khurshid Ali Khan, the government can easily buy land for its all offices in Batkhela tehsil from the rent it pays for them every year.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019

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