CM says won’t tolerate delay in projects, order probe


Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah took serious notice of the incomplete construction of Kunri Mirch Mandi (Chili Market) and ordered the anti-corruption establishment (ACE) to conduct a thorough inquiry as to why the schemes had not seen light of the day when the allocated funds of Rs 195.878 million had been released and utilised.

The chief minister issued these directives on Saturday while presiding over a review meeting of agriculture department development schemes at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Senior Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister Agriculture Sardar Ali Nawaz Maher, Chief Secretary Siddique Memon, Principle Secretary Alamuddin Bullo, Additional Chief Secretary (Dev) Mohammad Waseem, Secretary Agriculture Shahid Gulzar Shaikh and others.

Secretary Agriculture Shahid Gulzar Shaikh said that three schemes worth Rs 257.34 million had not been completed by the works and services department despite spending the entire allocated amount and now they were demanding Rs 612.9 million more for completion of the schemes.

Giving details of the schemes, he said that Mirch Mandi at Kunri, District Umerkot, was launched for Rs 195.878 million. The executing agency of the project is works and services department. The entire cost of the project has been released and utilised but still the project is at its initial stage.

Replying to a question, Shahid Gulzar said that now they were demanding Rs 600 million more to complete the schemes. As a matter of fact, Rs 600 million happen to be 300 per cent more than the original approved amount of the scheme.

The chief minister expressed his displeasure and said that the Chili Market at Kunri was the most important project. Sindh produces 90 per cent chilies of the country. This is one of the Asia’s largest market at Kunri. “This scheme was envisaged to increase export of the chili and make the market a hub of the country,” he said. “I cannot tolerate this kind of attitude. The concerned officers must have to face the music for their negligence.”

The chief minister ordered Chief Secretary Siddique Memon to send the matter to the ACE and report him. Secretary Works & Services Aijaz Memon said that he would also conduct an inquiry into the matter.

Giving details of another scheme of repair work of directorate of agriculture extension and directorate training buildings, the secretary agriculture said it was launched for Rs 46.331 million, of which Rs 46.316 million had been released and spent but the scheme was still incomplete and a demand of Rs 6.9 million had been made for its completion. On this, the chief minister directed the chief secretary to send DG (P&D) for inspection of the scheme.

Talking about remaining works of pesticides testing laboratory, Tando Jam, the agriculture secretary said it was originally launched at Rs 15.131 million and Rs 14.131 million had been spent so far but Rs 6 million more were demanded for its completion. The chief minister also asked ACS P&D Mohammad Waseem to get the schemes inspected before revising it.

He said the agriculture department had five subordinate departments/wings such as agriculture research, agriculture extension, bureau of supply and prices, agriculture mechanization and water management.

Secretary Agriculture Shahid said that overall 31 development schemes (20 on-going and 11 new) had been launched for Rs 4.5 billion for all the five wings of the department. Out of total allocation of Rs 3.9 billion for 20 on-going schemes, the government had released Rs 1.246 billion against which Rs 648.4 1 million had been utilised making 52 per cent utilisation of the released amount.

The secretary said that the finance department on the recommendation of the P&D department had stopped funding of six schemes which include rehabilitation of rice and cotton research station, Thatta; construction of training resource center and repair of existing facilities at agriculture training institute Sakrand; modernisation of training and research facilities in agriculture engineering workshop at Nareja; construction of compound wall of agricultural engineering workshop Sanghar and Kandhkot, renovation of agriculture workshop at Tando Jam and residential accommodation at Sukkur; pilot project for sustainable agriculture through storage tanks in Thatta and development and promotion of quality seed through pubic private partnership.

Minister for Finance and Planning & Development Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the inspection reports of these schemes were either average or unsatisfactory. “This is why I have stopped their funding. I cannot drain out government funds without ensuring the quality,” he said.

The chief minister directed the P&D department to inspect the schemes once again and then report him. “The works & services department must ensure quality and in time completion of the schemes,” he said, and directed the secretaries agriculture to keep inspecting the development schemes of his department.



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