The rulers of Sindh seem to have gained expertise in introducing new terms carrying the prefix “ghost”. People have long been familiar with “ghost schools”, and now they are getting familiar with “ghost schemes” worth billions of rupees. A report in this newspaper says during the previous budget session, many were surprised to find massive amounts earmarked for development projects but there was nothing to show by way of progress on the ground nor were there any explanations by the departments concerned.
The provincial government had allocated Rs2.3 billion anticipating floods in 2017. The floods never occurred, but details of expenditure for the purpose was shown in the budget books. According to official documents, the irrigation department had devised nine pipehole schemes expecting flood and rain emergency. The floods were anticipated in 2017, the schemes were approved in 2018, and the funds were shown utilised in 2019 and 2020. Officials of the relevant department say they are unaware of the issue. An official of the irrigation department, however, says the funds were utilised for rain emergency, because there was a forecast of heavy rains and the government spent the allocated amount on reinforcing embankments on the Indus. Another official from the department claimed the allocated funds were diverted to controlling urban flooding. Experience in recent years shows that the funds were used for other purposes but not spent on containing urban flooding. No official came up with a convincing explanation as regards the funds.
GDA parliamentary party leader Hasnain Mirza says he had asked the CM and other ministers about those funds of Rs2.1 billion meant to tackle floods in 2017, which never occurred. A scheme for setting up a cadet college in Badin was approved in 2017. The scheme is yet to get off the ground but the budget documents show that Rs25 million had been spent on it. This gives a glimpse of the level of alleged official corruption in Sindh.
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