Lahore gets lion’s share of Punjab development budget

LAHORE: More than half of the Punjab’s district based development budget has gone only to the provincial capital, as revealed by a detailed analysis of this year’s budget document.

A review of the two volumes of the provincial budget document “Demands for Grants” for fiscal year 2016-17 showed that around 58 per cent of the total allocated amount for development schemes had been reserved for Lahore alone, while no other district could get more than 3 per cent share.

According to the said documents, at least Rs 134 billion had been allocated for 445 schemes of Lahore out of a total district based allocation of Rs 229 billion. The second highest allocation for the development schemes went to the southern Punjab’s largest Multan which got only 3 per cent share with Rs 8.2 billion.

Another larger district of the province Faisalabad received a mere 2.7 per cent share in the district-based development schemes with Rs 6.2 million and Rawalpindi got 2.97 per cent with Rs 6.8 billion development budget.

Attock’s got 1.03 per cent, Bahawalnagar 1.09 per cent, Bahawalpur 2.72 per cent, Bhakkar, 0.5 per cent, Dera Ghazi Khan, 1.49 per cent, Liyyah 0.83 per cent, Muzaffargarh, 1.47 per cent, Toba Tek Singh 0.21 per cent, Vehari 1.01 per cent, Rajanpur 0.72 per cent and Rahim Yar Khan 1.01 per cent.

Under Lahore based project, major allocations had been made for Orange Line Metro Train Project which cost Rs 85 billion earmarked for this year. An additional amount of Rs 1.99 billion had been allocated for the provision of sewerage system for UC-117, 118 & 120 in the provincial capital.

Sewerage system from Larex Colony to Gulshan-e-Ravi Lahore would cost Rs1.3 billion, while an amount of Rs5 billion had been given as loans for the Lahore Waste Management Company for its capital, operational and head office expenditures.

Pakistan Kidney Liver Institute (PKLI) Lahore will cost Rs4 billion on provincial exchequer. Other mega projects include Punjab Police Integrated Command, Control & Communication (PPIC3) Centre Lahore with Rs2.9 billion allocation, Punjab Police Integrated Command Control & Communication Center Lahore (Safe City Project Lahore) with Rs10.63 billion and Lahore Knowledge Park with Rs2 billion funding.

The Punjab district profile had been extracted by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) from the budget document uploaded on the official website of finance department of Punjab. According to Programme Manager at CPDI Raja Shoaib Akbar, the data for all the districts of both provinces has been extracted by searching for the district names in the large budget books titled “Demand for Grant”-Development.

He said that there might be a few instances where the district name was not mentioned in the budget book and that project might have not been included in the analysis. While contacted, Punjab acting secretary information Raja Jahangir said that the provincial government was not discriminating against any district and the funds had been allocated in proportion with the population of districts.

He said that some projects based in Lahore were beneficial for the entire province like universities and Tertiary Care Hospitals. He claimed that in the annual development plan of the province, southern Punjab had been given 32 per cent share while its population is 31 per cent of the total number of people living in the province.

Punjab Secretary Planning and Development Iftikhar Sahu said that he doubted the accuracy of figures and said that there was no document that contained details of district wise allocation separately. He added, “Lahore gets major allocations because the provincial capital has the infrastructure and human capacity to sustain major projects.”

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