Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah taking notice of incomplete construction of Kunri Mirch Mandi (Chili Market), has ordered the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to conduct a thorough probe and to determine the responsibility for the failure in completion of this important scheme.
Despite the release and utilisation of Rs 195.878 million, the project was at plinth level, said an official statement here on Saturday. He issued these directives on Saturday while presiding over a review meeting of Agriculture Department Development schemes, here 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, Principal 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 have not been completed by the Works and Services Department despite spending the entire allocated amount and now they are 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. The entire cost of the project has been released and utilised but still the project is at plinth level.
Replying to a question of the chief minister Shahid Gulzar said that now they are demanding Rs 600 million more to complete the schemes. As a matter of fact, Rs 600 million happen to be 300 percent more than the original approved amount of the scheme.
The chief minister expressing his displeasure said that the Chili Market at Kunri was most important project. Sindh produces 90 percent chilies of the country. This is one of the Asia’s largest markets at Kunri. “This scheme was envisaged to increase export of the chili and make the market-a hub of the country,” he said and added “I cannot tolerate this kind of attitude and the officers concerned must face the music for their negligence or whatever it is.”
The chief minister ordered chief secretary Siddique Memon to send the matter to the ACE and report him. Secretary Works and 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, secretary Agriculture said that it was launched for Rs 46.331 million, of which Rs 46.316 million, have been released and spent but the scheme is still incomplete and a demand of Rs 6.9 million has been made for its completion. On this, the chief minister directed the chief secretary to send DG (P&D) for inspection of this scheme.
Talking about remaining works of Pesticides Testing Laboratory, Tando Jam, the agriculture secretary said that it was originally launched at Rs 15.131 million and Rs 14.131 million have been spent so far but now 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 that the Agriculture department has five sub-ordinate departments/wings such as Agriculture Research, Agriculture Extension, Bureau of Supply & Prices, Agriculture Mechanization, water Management. Secretary Agriculture Shahid said that over all 31 development schemes (20 ongoing and 11 new) have 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 ongoing schemes, the government has released Rs 1.246 billion against which Rs 648.4 1 million has been utilised which comes to 52 percent utilization of the released amount.
The Secretary said that the finance department on the recommendation of the P&D department has stopped funding of six schemes which include (1) Rehabilitation of Rice and Cotton Research Station, Thatta; (2) Construction of Training Resource Center and repair of existing facilities at agriculture training Institute Sakrand; (3) Modernization of Training & Research Facilities in Agriculture Engineering Workshop, at Nareja; (4) Construction of Compound wall of Agricultural Engineering workshop Sanghar and Kandhkot, Renovation of Agriculture workshop, Tando Jam and Residential Accommodation at Sukkur (5) Pilot Project for Sustainable Agriculture through Storage Tanks in Thatta and (6) Development and Promotion of quality seed through pubic-private partnership.
On this, 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 and in case of any complain report him directly.
Source: Business Recorder