‘Gap between developed and less developed areas increasing’

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The Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas, in its report for November 2009 to July 2011 on problems of less developed areas, said on Saturday that the gap between developed and less developed areas of the country was increasing owing to slow releases, non-provision and inequitable distribution of funds.
According to the committee report, a number of projects in recent years were approved on the basis of political influence instead of needs of the area and contributed to the increase of the gap as one of the factors. Identifying the reasons for less development in underdeveloped areas of the country, the committee cited following factors which led to an increase in the gap between developed and less developed areas of the country, including more allocation of funds for developed areas as compared to less developed areas, slow release of funds, inequitable distribution of funds in respect of projects or schemes initiated in less developed areas, approval of projects on the recommendation of influential people or on account of political expediency rather than on objective realties or needs of the people of the area for which the project was approved, initiation of projects without taking local people of less developed areas and other stakeholders into confidence and lack of effective monitoring mechanism to oversee development work.
According to the report, the committee, despite its recommendation in various committee meetings, remained dissatisfied with efforts of various departments for eliminating inconsistencies and an imbalance approach about development projects. The committee also added that the committee physically inspected a number of schemes to present a comprehensive and true picture of development projects in less developed areas.
On being contacted, Senator Dr Abdul Malik, chairman of the Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas, said that arbitrary release of funds on directions of the president or PM was the root cause of the problem. “The problem begins when the president or PM direct to release funds for a project and also direct the department concerned about the place and projects for which the amount is released”, he said.