KARACHI - The lawmakers from opposition parties as well as the PPP in Sindh Assembly have expressed dissatisfaction over the pace and priorities of the development schemes initiated in the province.
They complained that their constituencies were ignored in the uplift projects by the PPP’s government.
During discussion on an adjournment motion about a report on financial deficit of province reached to Rs66 billion in current fiscal year 2013-14, the lawmakers raised the issues of lack of civic facilities and damaged roads of the province. They alleged that impact of investing huge funds on development schemes was not visible in the province as money of provincial exchequer is going in corruption.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah himself replied to the lawmakers and rejected the allegations of corruption as well as the report of financial deficit of Rs66 billion. He said his government was accountable and answerable to the people of Sindh and would be ready to respond for each and every penny being spent on development schemes in the province.
The government benches did not oppose the adjournment motion of MQM’s female MPA Heer Soho from the opposition benches as 13 lawmakers, including the chief minister, debated the motion for one-and-a-half-hour.
The CM told the House that a total of Rs185 billion development budget, including Rs20 billion for districts’ schemes, was allocated in current year, of which Rs85 billion has been released with utilisation of Rs70 billion so far.
Rejecting the allegations of ignoring some districts, the CM claimed that at least one billion rupees had been spent in each district of the province development schemes. He maintained that his government has given priority to complete the ongoing development schemes, of which 131 schemes have been completed successfully. The CM reminded the House that he himself is getting the briefings and input about the progress of development schemes.
Qaim added that foreign donors are also helping through investing in the uplift projects. He cited that USAID provided Rs155 billion ($155 million) for education reforms, besides Asian Bank has provided a soft loan of US$406 million for irrigation projects in the province.
About the impact of development schemes, he said a room could not be built in a day so the uplift schemes were in progress.
He said his government was ready to hold the local government elections as delaying the polls was not the fault of his government but some parties approached the Supreme Court against the delimitation of constituencies in the province. He vowed that whenever the apex court allowed, the provincial government will be ready to hold the local bodies’ polls in the province.
Earlier, female MPA Heer Soho of MQM, who moved the adjournment motion, said the finance secretary and other bureaucrats do not respond to the opposition MPAs to give information about the status of budget allocations and releases.
Saeed Khan Nizamani of PML-F, speaking on the adjournment motion, complained that his home district Sanghar was ignored in the development schemes by the present government. He said the roads of the district were damaged in floodwaters two years ago but government was not giving priority to rehabilitate the damaged infrastructure.
Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of PML-F alleged the development money was going in corruption as impact of development was not visible in the province in comparison with the Punjab.
Replying to the allegations, Minister for Anti-Corruption, Manzoor Hussain Wassan said the PPP government had not ignored any area of the province. He said he would initiate inquiry into the misappropriation of the funds of works and services department.
PML-F’s another MPA Imtiaz Shaikh responded that if the PPP minister has courage then he should start inquiry instead of issuing threatening statements. Dr Zafar Kamali of MQM also complained that Mirpurkhas was ignored in the development schemes by the PPP government. The government benches faced an embarrassment situation when their own MPA Sardar Ahmed Ali Pitafi of PPP from Ghotki complained that despite being the member of the government party, the funds for the development schemes of his constituency were not being released for the last three years consecutively.