MULTAN: After the PTI government announced that South Punjab will have its own separate Annual Development Programmes (ADP) in the upcoming budget, all the departments of South Punjab Secretariat have submitted their separate proposals to the government for the first time.

The provincial government is going to table its budget for 2021-22 in the provincial assembly in the second week of June after the federal budget.

While announcing that the southern region’s share in the fiscal budget to be 33pc of the total budget, the PTI government claims that a separate ADP will open new avenues of development.

“Like other departments, my department has also submitted its separate draft, preparing schemes on a need basis. As many as 315 new and ongoing schemes are a part of the draft which has been submitted to the government and the estimated cost of these schemes is Rs44bn,” says Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Secretary Liaqat Ali Chattha.

He adds there are 75 schemes for the seven development authorities of the region while 240 schemes are of public health.

“A majority of the schemes are new while some are ongoing. Four major schemes of sewerage for Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahim Yar Khan and Taunsa Sharif are the part of the submitted schemes, which will be included in the ADP. Rusty sewer lines of Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan will be replaced while new lines are being laid in Taunsa.”

Mr Chattha says only for Multan city, an allocation of Rs1bn has been recommended for ongoing/nonfunctional water supply schemes while Rs300m for the schemes in unserved areas.

Two housing projects of 400 apartments and 1,300 houses have also been proposed for Multan and Lodhran, respectively, he adds.

“These projects are for low-income families and individuals and they will be executed through the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency. The apartments in Multan will be constructed at Madni Chowk.”

The provincial cabinet, in its 34th meeting, on Aug 13 approved the amendments to the Punjab Government Rules of Business 2011 for setting up the South Punjab Secretariat according to which the secretaries of 16 departments would perform duties in the newly established secretariat, which will be totally empowered and on Sept 11, the Services and General Administration Department (Implementation and Coordination Wing) issued an official notification in this regard. On Aug 31, the provincial government, for the first time, announced the appointment of secretaries of various departments for the secretariat.

The PTI government came under criticism when, on March 30, the secretaries of South Punjab Secretariat were made subordinate to the secretaries of their respective departments in Lahore through a notification without getting any approval from the provincial cabinet. According to the notification, the governor made the amendments to the rules of business with immediate effect.

One day earlier, the provincial chief secretary, through a notification, withdrew the notification of Sept 11; however, both the notifications were withdrawn on April 1 over the protest not only from the public but also from the PTI parliamentarians hailing from south Punjab.

During his visit to the city on April 26, Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the secretariat while terming it a step towards a separate province.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2021

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