KARACHI – Resuming discussion on the annual provincial budget, ministers and lawmakers, on Monday, lodged with the government complaints ranging from the deteriorating law and order, water shortage to unchecked corruption in the education sector. The House, which was set to motion nearly around 11 in the morning, recommenced the discussion on the budget for the next fiscal year in the Sindh Assembly deferring the question-hour session.At the outset, Sindh Minister for Information Technology Raza Haroon expressed surprise that although more allocations were made for uplift schemes in every next budget, development was not visible in the province excluding Karachi.The MQM leader advised the chief minister and finance minister to set aside the rules and procedures for the release of funds for development schemes from the new financial year starting on July 1. He was of the view that the fruits of heavy allocations would reach the people this way.Appreciating the ruling PPP, Haroon said that whenever they staged a walkout from the assembly against the brewing security situation, the government did listen to their grievances.He stressed the need for equipping police and other law-enforcement agencies with high technology to trace and nab criminals.On his turn, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said the PPP government had, in the budget, broken all previous records of allocations for the welfare of the people. He reminded the House that despite the fact that former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim came from his constituency, Thar, the area remained ignored. He said that development works, including installation of RO plants for provision of potable water, of Rs2 billion had been initiated in Thar area by the present government. Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the NPP, while delivering his speech on the budget, said that the allocations of billions of rupees did not interest the poor, because they want benefits in terms of reduction in inflation.Jatoi told the House that during the last four years, prices of flour/atta had been increased to 60 per cent, tomatoes to 50 per cent, potatoes 80 per cent and rates of onion rose 100 per cent. He was of the view that the announcement of 20,000 jobs might impact slightly as an increase of at least 1.3 million had been registered in the population of the province this year alone, putting 100 people for a single government job, numerically. The NPP lawmaker said the government could not provide jobs to every citizen, calling for development of the private sector to offset the increasing unemployment. “But how the private sector could flourish when industrial units are closing down due to gas and electricity shortage,” he questioned, drawing the attention of his colleagues to the prevailing energy shortfall.Jatoi, nevertheless, rejected additional tax burden on the agriculture sector, saying that farmers and growers were paying more taxes than tax payers from other sectors. Besides, farmers also paid taxes on fertilisers and pesticides, he added. Another MQM leader, Sindh Minister for Youth Affairs Faisal Sabzwari said although allocations for the social sector and infrastructure had been increased, a major shift in policy was needed. He contended that ethnicity, sectarian and political factors might be the factors behind the increasing violence, but the motive behind all crimes was common, ie, destabilisation of Karachi.The MQM leader said that it was the time to take action against criminals in the city, irrespective of their cast, creed, religion and language. He said that “we all are willing to hold local government elections, but certain elements were attributing the local government system to anti-Sindh and rural-urban divide. The MQM leader announced that his party was willing to continue its work relationship with the ruling PPP.On her turn, Minister for Culture Sassui Palijo of the PPP demanded that attackers of the Love Sindh rally, taken out last month, be brought to justice.She condemned the slogans of separate province in Sindh, and declared that the citizens would not accept such a demand. “We are ready to put all things close to us at stake for Sindh.” Taimour Taplur of the PPP demanded a special package for Umerkot district, which was severely hit by last year’s heavy rainfall.Rejecting the demand of agriculture tax, the PPP lawmaker said that growers gave half of their income to farmers, which was unprecedented in the world.He disclosed that a financial embezzlement of Rs70million to Rs80million occurred in the GP fund of the Education Department in Umerkot. He demanded to form a House committee to probe into the irregularity.Shah Hussain Shirazi of the PML-Q opposed the establishment of proposed Zuflikarabad in Thatta district, and feared that local population would come into minority due to the possible influx of outsiders in the new city. He demanded the government to spend funds allocated for Zulfiqarabad city on the existing cities and towns of the district.Sindh Minister Agha Taimour Pathan advised the government to continue the operation against criminals in Shikarpur district, where, according to him, robbers were keeping people taken captive from Punjab and Balochistan. Razak Rahimon of the PML-Likeminded complained that despite their cooperation in the presidential and prime ministerial elections, the PPP government, while continuing its policy of victimisation, did not incorporate their development schemes in the budget.He alleged that the Planning and Development Department did not approve funds for his development schemes of last year and despite attempts, the chief minister had no time for him.He also accused the EDO education of his district of plundering SMC funds. He said that instead of punishing him, the Education Department gave him promotion. He alleged that millions of rupees of public money were being embezzled by TMAs and needed to be probed.He termed the law and order situation in Tharparkar as worst, saying that people could not travel in the district after evening. Sindh Minister for science and Technology Jam Madad Ali of the PML-F complained that his district was deprived of irrigation water and time for cultivation of Kharif crops was running out. The PML-F leader said that he requested the chief minister, irrigation minister, MD SIDA and others for release of water in tail area of his district but his request was not entertained. Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo assured the house that water situation would improve within the next five days.