MULTAN: Punjab Assembly members belonging to opposition will not get any allocation under the Community Development Programme (CDP) for their constituencies for the third consecutive year.

According to sources, the government has directed the divisional commissioners across the province to initiate work for the preparation of development schemes under the CDP for the areas of ruling party MPAs beside those opposition members who have changed their loyalties and are now supporting the PTI.

The CDP requires people to send applications to the Divisional Coordination Committee (DCC) to initiate any development scheme in their respective areas and MPAs are not supposed to suggest any project directly. Each DCC is headed by the commissioner while the deputy commissioners and director development are its members. The schemes, after scrutiny by the DCC under the guidelines issued by the provincial government, are sent to the District Development Committee (DDC) headed by the deputy commissioners for final approval. Once the DDC approves the schemes, the finance department releases funds.

Commissioners told to prepare schemes for current year; PML-N deserters to benefit as well

The same procedure is for the CDP schemes for MNAs but they are monitored by deputy commissioners.

Sources say only those requests of public are entertained by the DCC and then the DDC which are endorsed by respective MNAs/MPAs verbally.

The CDP schemes are executed on an annual basis. Schemes under CDP-I (first year of the government) have been completed. The schemes for CDP-II are ongoing while the provincial government has directed the commissioners to initiate preparation of schemes for the CDP-III while the schemes for MNAs have already been finalized a couple of months ago.

The opposition MPAs from Multan division include Nishat Ahmad Khan Daha, Rana Babar Hussain Abid, Muhammad Faisal Khan Niazi and Attaur Rehman (all from the PML-N) from Khanewal district; Syed Ali Haidar Gilani (PPP), Rana Ejaz Ahmad Noon and Naghma Mushtaq Laang (PML-N) from Multan district; Pirzada Muhammad Jahangir Bhutta, Shah Muhammad and Khan Muhammad Siddique Khan Baloch (from PML-N) from Lodhran district and Khalid Mahmood Dogar, Mian Irfan Aqeel Daultana and Mian Muhammad Saqib Khurshid from Vehari (from PML-N).

According to sources, not a single scheme was initiated in the constituencies of opposition MPA in the CDP-I. Schemes of two PML-N MPAs from Khanewal were included in the CDP-II when they ditched PML-N and were kicked out from the party in October 2020 after they held a meeting with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. The two are likely to benefit in the CDP-III as well.

Last year, the CDP allocation was approved in April but for the third year, the schemes are going to be prepared in the month of February, keeping in view the Senate election.

Influential MPAs normally succeed in getting major chunk. Khurram Leghari from PP-275 (Muzaffargarh) got Rs1.612 billion during the last two years under different heads but he is still critical of the chief minister for ignoring his area.

According to data available with Dawn, in 2018-19, Rs446.045 million were provided for the development schemes of Leghari’s constituency under the CDP-I and provincial annual development programme (ADP) and in 2019-20, the volume of funds provided for the constituency from CDP-II, ADP and Rural Accessibility Programme (RAP-I) was Rs842 while Rs323.53 million were sanctioned during the ongoing year under ADP, ADP (local government) and RAP-II.

Rana Ejaz Noon, a PML-N MPA from Shujabad, said no development scheme of the opposition MPAs has been approved.

“Even the old schemes have been stopped. An allocation of Rs60 million for a scheme of Shujabad were utilised to pay the salaries of government employees while a scheme of ADP to construct the stadium in Shujabad for which the funds were also allocated was shifted to Kahror Pacca,” he said.

He said he was going to suggest the people of his constituency to send recommendations/suggestions to the CDP-III to the commissioner and lodge a protest if their schemes are not approved.

Salman Naeem, who was elected from PP-217 in 2018 election as an independent candidate and later joined the PTI was de-notified by the Election Commission of Pakistan in March 2019 over fake CNIC issue but the supreme court has yet to announce a final decision, said only two development schemes were initiated in his constituency and both were inaugurated by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

“I met Prime Minister Imran Khan and requested him for allocation and release of funds for my constituency but the funds are not being provided to avoid the anger of Mr Qureshi,” he added.

Commissioner Javed Akhtar Mehmood was not available for a comment.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2021

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