Punjab government High on projects, low on money
RAWALPINDI, Sept 23: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is scheduled to launch two big projects in the city on Tuesday – an Institute of Urology and Kidney Transplant at Shamsabad and a flyover at the 6th Road. But where is the money?
Dawn has learned that spade-work has been done on both the projects when the Rs1.017 billion flyover does not even figure on the Punjab government’s development programme for 2012-13.
Although the other does, the National Logistic Cell (NLC) is executing the Rs2 billion project just on a promise.
Even more intriguing sounds the information that the province’s communications and works department is yet to send the so-called ‘summary’ of the flyover project to the chief minister for approval.
“If the project is not there in the annual development programme, the chief minister can give special approval for such projects,” explained an official of the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR). After all the NLC started executing its Urology Institute contract “on the promise” that funds would flow after the Chief Minister approves the summary, he reminded.
Not just that, the official said the NLC had met the request of the Punjab government to start work on the project of Peshawar Road Expansion from Chur Chowk to Chairing Cross without any down-payment.
Since the funds allocated for the Institute of Urology and Kidney Transplant in the 2012-13 annual development programme were “not available with the government now”, he said the project will be formally undertaken next year.
District Coordination Officer Saqib Zafar admitted to Dawn that funds had not been allocated but said the matter was not of public concern.
“You don’t worry about this issue. The provincial government has managed to start the projects. There is no need to go in to the details how they managed it,” he said.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will also inaugurate Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC), though its hospital part is not yet complete.
The local administration opened its Outpatients Department recently without necessary machinery being there.
Medical circles said major pathological and Echo tests facility is not available there.
Even the six watchmen needed to guard whatever equipment is there in the RIC had to be borrowed from its three allied hospitals. RIC’s Medical Superintendent, Dr. Mohammad Arshad, informed that “the in-patient department of the hospital will start working in December after needed machinery is installed”.
Angiography and angioplasty facilities will be provided in the third phase of the project next year, he added.
A local PML-N leader, requesting anonymity, told Dawn that all these projects were located in the constituency of NA-56 of PML-N MNA Hanif Abbasi who is fearing arrest in ephedrine quota scandal case. He is currently enjoying interim bail.
Additionally, the law and order situation in the constituency, as elsewhere in the city, has been rocked by the protests against the blasphemous movie. “It was not the right time to invite the chief minister to the city,” said the leader who wished not to be identified.