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Govt short of uplift funds, KP Assembly told

Govt short of uplift funds, KP Assembly told

PESHAWAR: The provincial government on Friday said it faced a shortage of funds for development schemes reflected in the budget for the current fiscal year.

“We are eying Rs25 billion promised by the federal government under the head of the net hydel profit arrears,” finance minister Muzafar Said told the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly while responding to the opposition’s criticism of the government for not giving them funds.

The minister assured the opposition members that the funds would be released within a week after the federal government provided Rs25 billion to the provincial government.

He demanded that the federal government immediately release the funds in the best interest of the people.

Earlier, several lawmakers from the opposition benches raised the issue of the denial of funds, which, they said, had stalled development schemes.

On a point of order, Mehmood Khan Bittani of the JUI-F said contractors had stopped work on development schemes as the relevant departments had no funds for them.

“When we ask the departments concerned for reasons, they tell us that the finance department has not released the required funds,” he said.

The lawmaker demanded that the government clarify if it faced shortage of funds.

Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha of the PML-N also voiced concern about delay in the release of funds allocated for the maintenance and repairs of roads and buildings in Abbottabad.

He said three months had been left to the end of the current financial year, so how the departments would use the funds if they’re released at the end of the fiscal.

The MPA said the response of the finance minister on the matter was unsatisfactory.

Participating in the debate, Sahibzada Sanaullah of the PPP said all contractors in Upper Dir had yet to begin work on development schemes as they didn’t have money for the purpose.

During the question hour, the provincial health department remained in the line of fire over lack of facilities and staff at most basic health units and rural health centres in the remote districts of the province.

The lawmakers said under the current circumstances, patients in such areas were mostly referred to Peshawar or adjacent districts.

Through a question, Sahibzada Sanaullah said the establishment of a RHC in Upper Dir had begun in 2004-05 but work had yet not completed.

He said most RHCs and BHUs in the district were in bad shape due to the apathy of the health department.

In a supplementary question, JUI-F member Maulana Asmatullah said the government established a RHC in Pillas area of Kohistan five years ago and provided it with all necessary equipment but ironically, the centre had no skilled worker to use them and thus, forcing patients to go to Mansehra for treatment.

PPP lawmaker Sardar Hussain from Chitral said a BHU was established by the health department in 2012 but it had yet no staff member.

“I visited the heath minister five times and brought the issue to his notice, but to no avail,” he said.

Speaker Asad Qaisar referred the question of MPA Najma Shaheen on the absence of facilities at the Kohat Women and Children Hospital to the relevant house committee for discussion and recommendation.

The woman member said she had been demanding provision of facilities at the hospital and other health units in the area for over two years but the relevant authorities was indifferent.

Through another question, she said most of the machinery at the Kohat Divisional Headquarters Hospital was damaged forcing doctors to refer patients to Peshawar.

Health minister Shahram Tarakai said he and his department’s secretary sitting in the officers’ gallery had noted the issues raised by lawmakers and would ensure their early resolution.

Adviser to the chief minister on law Arif Yousaf introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Antiquities Bill, 2016 and health minister Shahram Tarakai the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016.

The speaker later adjourned the session until Monday.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2016

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