–Shortage of funds, improper planning delays religious tourism project which was to be completed in 2016
LAHORE: Due to non-availability of funds, improper planning and absence of quality resources, the project titled “Development of Resort for Religious Tourism at Nankana Sahib” is in limbo with no forward movement.
Pakistan Today learnt that in order to promote Sikh tourism, the Punjab government had approved a project on January 21, 2015, which was planned to be ended in 20-11-2016 with the estimated cost of Rs. 106.586 million. The cost has been twice revised and remains Rs 142.178 million for now.
The main objective was to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims who came to Pakistan to visit gurdwaras and shrines, and to promote cultural tourism, increase economic activities and empower local communities.
The project also aimed to promote general tourism by creating appropriate attraction and facilitation centre and to provide enhanced capacity for visiting tourists to enable them to stay in comfortable/secure environment. It was also aimed for image building of the country by creating harmonious relations with other communities.
The project was being executed by Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) and Communication and Works Department Punjab (C&W); however, the Corporation had intended to develop the resort for foreign visitors, mainly Sikh yatrees, as well as locals to provide better facilities for residencies on the eve of their festivals/events. The proposed motel consists of bedrooms, dining hall, kitchen, facilitation centre, veranda, boundary wall, lawn, souvenir shops, parking area, etc. The C&W was overseeing the construction of the main building of the resort and procurement of furniture, fixture & equipment.
The Directorate General Monitoring and Evaluation (DGM&E) has issued a monitoring report over the project which states, “The project was revised two times due to different reasons that shows PC-1 was not prepared with proper attention. The consultancy charges were included in the scheme at the time of approval latter on these funds converted in another head. The scheme was behind schedule due to shortage of funds. The shortage of funds is affecting the overall objectives of the projects and the quality of civil work can also affect the overall objective of the scheme.”
“The Electricity Connection was disconnected at site due to non-payment of electricity bills as reported by C&WD official. The major cracks in walls of different portion of the project that is the admin office, residences were also observed. No quality control equipment was present at site.”
The report further states in its recommendations, “The executing department must justify in this regard if they are not entrusted in consultancy services then why the added the amount in PC-1. The Executing department needs more attention in quality of work.”
While talking to Pakistan Today, C&W Executive Engineer Khurram Arshad said that the project was delayed due to the shortage of funds.
“The delays were due to non-availability of funds whereas we are doing the work in perfect manner and also checking the quality parameters,” he said.