KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to reconsider the proposed Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) terming it lopsided as it was ‘detrimental’ to the interests of people living in the province.
In a strongly worded letter to the prime minister, he said ever since the current federal government came to power it was treating Sindh with abject bias.
Giving the four-year break-up of the number of schemes and their allocation for provincially executed projects for Sindh in the PSDP, he said only six schemes with a total allocation of Rs5,069.14 million were proposed in 2021, while the number of schemes in 2017-18 was 27 with a total allocation of Rs23,387.21m.
He said there were 10 schemes with allocation of Rs8,302m in 2020-21, 13 schemes of Rs8.508.85m in 20019-20 and 22 schemes with allocation of 14,266.72m in 2018-19.
In letter to PM, Murad Shah says proposed PSDP is detrimental to interests of people
The CM wrote: “As you note above, grave injustice is being meted out to the people of Sindh ever since the current federal government came into power in August 2018.”
He said that the National Highway Authority was responsible for executing major road sector schemes in the country, but there was big difference between the numbers of schemes given to Sindh as opposed to other provinces.
Mr Shah said in the letter that there were 22 schemes with total allocation of Rs32,151.57m for Punjab and 21 schemes with allocation of Rs41,256.48m for KP and 15 schemes with allocation of Rs24,150m for Balochistan in the proposed PDSP 2021-22, while there were only two schemes with allocation of 7,111.95m for Sindh. “I know the above data is unbelievable, but it is unfortunately a reality”, he deplored.
The chief minister said that one of the two schemes included in the NHA portfolio in Sindh in PSDP-2021 was Sehwan-Jamshoro road costing a total of Rs14 billion, of which 50 per cent had been provided by the provincial government back in April 2017. “The road is less than 50 per cent complete in more than four years of execution,” he said, adding that non-completion of road had resulted into several deaths in road accident and he held the federal government responsible for this.
He said the other schemes in the NHA portfolio included land acquisition for Karachi-Lahore Motorway. “Again, it is astonishing that the Lahore to Sukkur section of this project has been undertaken through assured funds under the PSDP and the Sukkur to Hyderabad section is the only section which has not been started to-date and is proposed under the Public Private Partnership mode,” he lamented.
The CM said that there were 14 schemes of estimated cost of Rs86,605m with allocation of Rs15,061m for Punjab, 28 schemes of estimated cost of Rs144,495m with allocation of Rs18,053m for Balochistan and 10 schemes of estimated cost of Rs86,783m with allocation of Rs66,782m for KP, while there were only two schemes of estimated cost of only Rs4,808m with allocation of Rs1,519m for Sindh.
He said majority of schemes for Punjab were in the road section. “Out of the 11 new projects given to Punjab in the Finance Division, 10 are these provincial road projects with a cost of Rs71,699m and an allocation of Rs12,461m in 2021-22. “The provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have been given new schemes in the Finance Division, but not Sindh,” he deplored.
CM Shah also expressed his concern over ‘violation of Article 156 (4) of the Constitution’ by not holding the minimum number of National Economic Council meetings.
He urged the prime minister to reconsider this lopsided PSDP and abide by the constitutional requirement of ‘balanced development and regional equity’.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2021