Delayed funds impacting Lahore schemes

Published October 11, 2021
This file photo shows development work under way in Lahore. — Photo courtesy: Syed Muhammad Abubakar/File
This file photo shows development work under way in Lahore. — Photo courtesy: Syed Muhammad Abubakar/File

LAHORE: The Punjab government may not be able to complete various development schemes under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) by December this year – the first half of the ongoing fiscal year 2021-22) – as it has yet to release funds allocated in this regard.

Though the finance department has partially released funds to some new and those ongoing schemes carried forward from the last FY 2020-21, they may also be not completed on time due to delay in the release of the remaining funds, Dawn has learnt.

“It is really very strange to see that the government is yet to release the allocated funds for the schemes despite the fact the departments concerned/project executing agencies have already issued work orders to the contractors after completing the necessary legal procedures (floating tenders etc),” deplores an official source.

“Most of the schemes can be completed within a period of three months. But when adequate funds are not being released, how can these schemes most of them related to rehabilitation of roads, streets and other infrastructures be completed,” he added.

Similarly, the official said the government partially released funds for some schemes that can even be completed within a short span of time — one to three months.

“We wonder that why the government is avoiding the release of funds fully to the schemes ranging between Rs10 to 200 million? If this practice continues, none of the schemes, even the smaller ones, can be completed as per timeline,” he said, suggesting the government to release the allocated funds fully for the timely launch and completion of the development schemes in various parts of Lahore and other major cities.

According to an official letter, the schemes for which the funds are yet to be released include: Rs40 million each schemes titled rehabilitation of roads, streets (Johar Shadi Hall to Bhalla Chowk), Madina Road-blocs 2, 3, Wafaqi Colony Chowk to Awan Chowk); construction of metal road (Al-Karim Chowk Township to Muslim Chowk); construction of metal road (Muslim Chowk to Chandni Chowk, Township); construction of metal road (Choras Tanky to Pulli Stop, Shah Jillani Road to Imam Bargah Green Town); construction of road (Khirunnisa Masjid B2 Johar Town to PIA Road); Rs10 million construction of road (Gondal Chjowk to Green Town Police Station); Rs17.5 million and Rs7.500 million for the construction of PCC, sewerage and carpet etc in UC 8, 9, 10, 4 and 7; Rs15 million establishment of graveyard at Tussipura; Rs4 million rehabilitation of graveyard in D-bloc, Johar Town; Rs20 million rehabilitation of Noor Khan Bhatti Road (Iqbal Town); Rs9.8 million restoration of historic site of garden Muhabbat Khan; Rs100 million construction of boundary wall of graveyard, parks, etc at UC No 110, 112, 115, 117, 116, 256 and 269; Rs60 million construction of PCC roads in streets of UC 220, 221, 222, 232, 236, 238 and 240; Rs300 million rehabilitation of various roads, streets, sewerage etc in the areas of Gulberg, Model Town, LDA quarters, Garden Town, Faisal Town and Peter Gill Colony; Rs100 million each scheme for provision of street lights in UCs 75, 76, 79, 82, 83, 86, 89, 90, 91, 92, 94 and 95 to 98; and development works in the UCs 146 to 149, 151 to 152 and 157 to 160 and Rs120 million construction of PCC Nuillah, sewerage system etc at Fazal Khan Colony and Bahadarbad. The schemes carry the General Serial No in the ADP as 3021, 3031 to 3035, 3061, 3070, 3467 to 3468, 3578, 3609, 3023, 3030, 3064, 3066, 3502 and 3539.

“It is intimated that the funds for these schemes under the ADP 2021-22 have not been released. Therefore, you are requested to please take up the matter with the finance department for the release of funds for these schemes,” reads a letter sent by the local government and community development department’s (civil work wing, Lahore) to the quarters concerned.

According to a senior LDA official, funds for various schemes assigned to the authority under the ADP were issued partially. “There should be a mechanism to evaluate the schemes required funds fully or partially. If a scheme (whether small or big) can be completed within a couple of months, the government should release funds fully instead of partially,” the official requesting anonymity opined.

The PTI-led Punjab government 2021-22 budget mainly focuses on implementing the Rs560 billion historic ADP by getting the entire funds utilized during this fiscal year. The government has earlier claimed to have released Rs144 billion to various departments on the first day (July 1, 2021) of the new fiscal year-2021-22 for timely completion of all ongoing schemes. Similarly, under the ADP, the government also allocated Rs100 billion for launching and completing new development projects across the province under the district development package. Rs30 billion were had also been allocated separately to Lahore for various mega projects alone.

“I think the government must take notice of this issue (related to non-release or partial release of funds for the schemes) on top priority basis, failing which several schemes (new and the ongoing) may face massive delay. Moreover, it will also bring a bad name to the government, which is already facing severe criticism from the public at large due to skyrocketing prices, inflation etc,” he warned.

The finance department’s secretary and the special secretary were not available for comments.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2021

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