Centre-funded uplift projects in doldrums

KARACHI The Centre-funded development projects in Sindh are severely affected as the Federal Government has released only Rs 49 million out of total Rs 13 billion allocated in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the uplift schemes of the province during the six months of current fiscal year 2010-11, officials told The Nation on Sunday. Sources said that the financial crunch facing of the Federal Government is affecting overall development of the country as well as PSDP projects, announced in the current fiscal years budget. However, Sindh province was suffering more than any other province as central government has not released funds for federally funded uplift schemes, which were part of current financial years public sector development programme, a senior official of Planning and Development Department said. According to details, over 30 ongoing and new development projects of Sindh, involving Rs 13 billion, were made part of federal PSDP of current fiscal year, but despite expiry of about six months, the Federal Finance Ministry has not released single penny for mega projects of water, education, health, information technology, population and other sectors in Sindh, officials pointed out. A senior official of Planning and Development Department, who usually represents Sindh province at different forums in Centre, told The Nation that federal Finance Ministrys officials have conveyed to the Sindh Government that the Central Government was currently facing severe financial crunch, so Provincial Government should forget the funds for development schemes this year. The officials said that the Federal Government has already reduced the volume of federal PSDP from Rs 450 billion to Rs 150 billion, which automatically affected the funding of provinces projects. A lot of mega uplift projects including Karachi water and sewerage project, Nawabshah project, water sector and Thar coal infrastructure were in doldrums, because the Centre itself is facing financial crisis. , which may result in not releasing of funds for these important schemes, officials said. He pointed out that the Federal Government has released only Rs 49 million for Hyderabad Development Package during six months of current fiscal year. If this situation continues, all other uplift schemes may remain unfunded for the whole year, official cautioned. In the wake of devastative floods, the Sindh Government has already squeezed its Annual Development Programme (ADP) to Rs 77 billion from Rs 115 billion this fiscal year, diverting funds for rehabilitation of flood-affected people. Advisor to Chief Minister on Planning and Development Kaisar Bengali confirmed that Sindh reprioritised its annual development programme to divert funds for flood affectees rehabilitation. However, he confirmed if any need arises, the Provincial Government would further reduce development outlay because rehabilitation of the IDPs is the first priority of the Government.

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