Murad declares uplift works by federal govt in Sindh through SIDCL unacceptable

Updated 11 Jun 2020

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Says Sindh is not Islamabad’s ‘colony’; finds discrepancies in spending on PSDP schemes. — DawnNewsTV/File
Says Sindh is not Islamabad’s ‘colony’; finds discrepancies in spending on PSDP schemes. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Wednesday that it was unacceptable that the federal government was carrying out development works in the province through the Sindh Infrastructure Develop­ment Company Limited (SIDCL).

Considering the province of Sindh as a “colony” of Islamabad, the federal government had decided to carry out development works through the SIDCL, which was unacceptable, the CM told a press conference here.

He said that Sindh had not been given any new scheme in the next year’s proposed public service development programme (PSDP), except two energy schemes, including power and gas connections for the Dhabeji Special Economic Zone.

He regretted that the prime minister chaired the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) only twice in two years.

Says Sindh is not Islamabad’s ‘colony’; finds discrepancies in spending on PSDP schemes

Mr Shah said that the federal government was taking up 20 schemes through the SIDCL in the name of the prime minister.

“We have serious objections on the SIDCL and why such companies have not been formed in other provinces where the federal government has been investing massively,” he asked.

He said Sindh was not a colony of Islamabad where development was being done through a federally controlled company.

Talking about two schemes in Karachi’s East and Central districts in the constituencies of as many MPAs, the CM said: “This is not the job of the prime minister to give small schemes of local bodies level to his MPAs and execute them through the SIDCL.”

He also said that the Supreme Court had given a judgement that no MPA could be given a direct scheme.

‘Discrepancies’ in PSDP

CM Shah said that he had chaired a meeting on the PSDP on Tuesday and found discrepancies in the document.

He added that on Wednesday morning he received a revised PSDP document in which what he found was a separate company was formed to carry out development schemes of the federal government in Sindh.

He said that every province had been given funds to carry out uplift works but a separate company, the SIDCL, was formed only for Sindh. “This is quite surprising and new thing for me,” he said and added for the first time he saw around 22 schemes, including 20 of Sindh province, had been assigned to the cabinet division to implement.

“The cabinet division of the federal government is not a development schemes executing agency,” he said.

He said that he raised this objection in the NEC meeting and told the prime minister that in 2015 then PM Nawaz Sharif had given Green Line bus rapid transit project to Karachi and had said the federal government would construct it on their own.

He said the federal government formed Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (KIDCL) and started the Green Line scheme with an estimated cost of Rs24.6bn.

“In June 2019, a year before, Rs21.2bn billion was shown utilized on the schemes. When I saw the documents, Rs19.5bn was shown utilized on the schemes on June 30, 2020 while Rs21.2bn they had shown utilized in June 2019,” he said and added how they were playing with figures of the projects of Sindh.

Says mic muted in NEC meeting

He also complained that during the NEC meeting his mic was muted and then he took up the matter on which the prime minister denied having issued any such orders. He said that PM told him that he would give opportunity to each and every chief minister to express their views.

“This is what the staff of the prime minister secretariat was doing with him,” he said.

Talking about a scheme the federal government had included in the PSDP under the name of improvement and rehabilitation of streets, water and sewerage system under the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Mr Shah said that how a vague type of scheme could be taken up for which they had no knowledge of the works to be carried out.

Referring to another schemes of Rs2.44bn named as reconstruction of Manghopir Road, he said that the work had been assigned to the SIDCL and it was approved by the then PML-N government at the cost of Rs2.44bn and so far Rs1.2bn had been utilized.

He said that he was expecting that the prime minister would inaugurate the schemes, but everyone knew what had happened to the schemes on ground.

K-IV water supply project

Talking about the K-IV project, the chief minister said that it was a Rs25bn project and then its cost was revised to Rs33bn.

“Recently, a Debt Reconciliation Commission was constituted and the head of the commission called the officers of the Sindh government working on K-IV and insulted them as if the K-IV project was being made on loan.

“It is a government project and is being financed equally by the federal and provincial governments,” he reminded.

He said that the Sindh government had sent seven water schemes to the centre but it did not consider them.

He said these schemes included lining of KB Feeder, Kotri Barrage to Keenjhar, which was in PSDP in 2018-19 but the federal government dropped it this year.

He said that another scheme of providing fresh water in Manchar Lake was also dropped despite the fact that it had appreciated it in 2019-20.

He said that the province of Sindh was told that it would receive Rs835bn against which Sindh was receiving Rs606bn. “This shows a shortfall of Rs229bn and it has badly affected our development portfolio,” he lamented.

About KMC’s firefighting system scheme of Rs1.876bn, the chief minister said that Rs1.21bn had been utilized but so far the KMC had not received even a tyre of a fire tender.

He said the Sindh government had distributed ration worth Rs1.8bn in a transparent way and “we were ready to give its detailed account.”

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2020