PESHAWAR: The opposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly once again complained of discrimination in allocation of development funds as the House debated supplementary budget here on Thursday.
Soon after recitation from the holy Quran and start of the session chaired by Deputy Speaker Mehmood Jan, opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani pinpointed the absence of ministers, saying “who would reply their questions as the finance and other ministers were absent from the House.”
He said the government was not taking the Assembly business seriously. The speaker had to adjourn the session for 10 minutes to ensure presence of the ministers and members in the House.
When the session resumed after the break, Inayatullah Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in his speech criticised the government by claiming that the spending of 2010, 2011 and 2012 were included in the supplementary budget. He said that 90 percent of the Rs16 billion uplift budget was given to just two or three districts and the others were ignored.
“The finance minister had made claims about his innovative speech and ideas but his budget speech was ditto copy of the past budgets except change in the figures,” he said while reading out the new and some old budget speeches.
He said that in the budget paper, the amount under head of irrigation had been spent on electrification in Mardan. He suggested the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to bring innovation in its policies and cut the non-development expenditures.
He also suggested to the provincial set-up to persuade the federal government to give extra funds to the province on the basis of being underdeveloped.
Awami National Party parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak said that the PTI had been claiming to have vision and teams of experts, but it was wrong as there has been no planning so far. He also questioned how the Rs16 billion and Rs1.9 million development budget was given to a few districts.
“In Nowshera, Rs1 billion were spent on protection spur. Flood could have been averted had this money been spent on water reservoir,” he added.
Criticising the Billion Tree Tsunami project, he said that laws were needed to be enacted to raise awareness and make the people bound to plant saplings on special occasions such as childbirth.
“The money spent on the project could have been spent on provision of natural gas to stop the ruthless cutting of trees,” he argued.He said plants harmful for environment like eucalyptus were planted instead of those suitable and adjustable with the local environment.
The ANP lawmaker also criticised the previous government’s local government system and said why the system was being changed if it was an ideal one. He drew the government attention towards the practice of imposition of section-IV for acquisition of land and said it was unjust to snatch land from someone for establishment of educational institution or a cantonment without his willingness.
He was referring to the complaints of landowners in Swat.Sher Azam Wazir and Sahibzada Sanaullah of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) also complained of discrimination in the allocation of funds and said their constituencies had been ignored. They said the ongoing schemes in their constituencies were dropped from the ADP.
Minister for Local Government Shahram Khan Tarakai, while responding to the opposition points, said that there would be no discrimination with the members and their mandate would be respected.
He said their suggestions would be forwarded to the finance minister and would be considered.He said that re-appropriation of funds and supplementary budget was not a new practice. However, he said efforts would be made to bring improvement in it.
He added that suggestions like imposition of section-IV, Local Government Act and plantation of suitable trees would be discussed with the chief minister. He claimed the three tiers of PTI government’s local government system, ie village councils and neighbourhood councils, performed well and gave encouraging results.The speaker adjourned the session to meet again today at 10am