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Funds for Multan diverted to Raja’s constituency

October 02, 2012

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf waves upon his arrival at the Supreme Court in Islamabad on September 18, 2012. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, Oct 2: The government has stopped funding development schemes launched by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in his hometown, Multan.

According to sources in the Public Works Department (PWD), the decision was taken soon after development projects worth billions of rupees were launched in Gujar Khan, the constituency of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

“As the government has stopped funding Multan projects, a number of schemes remain incomplete although millions of rupees have been spent on them,” a PWD official said. He said the money already spent on the projects might go to waste.

The sources said the government had allocated funds for ongoing schemes in Multan under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) but the money had not been released during the current fiscal year.

When asked about the development, the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, Shafqat Jalil, said: “I don’t know about it but apparently it is impossible.”

Under the prime minister’s development package, the government released Rs10.9 billion during the last fiscal year for 3,966 schemes across the country.

According to figures compiled by the PWD, which executes the schemes, the highest amount was spent in Multan.

Under the normal practice, funds are allocated to senators, MNAs and MPAs for need-based development schemes in their constituencies and the projects are carried out by the PWD.

But documents reveal that Rs660 million was also given to 38 ‘notables’ of Multan for schemes of their choice.

On the other hand, the incumbent prime minister has not depended on the PSDP for the projects in Gujar Khan.

According to PWD documents, the government has approved around Rs8 billion development projects for the town. “If the government, in case of any financial crunch, squeezes PSDP funding, it will not affect Gujar Khan’s schemes,” the official said.

The projects include Rs2.676 billion for dualisation of the 64km Mandra-Chakwal road for which more than 78 per cent, Rs2.1 billion, has already been released. Another Rs3.3 billion project is for dualisation of the 70km Sohawa-Chakwal road.