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Re-construction of Swat jail suspended for lack of funds

Peshawar

May 22, 2019

MINGORA: The reconstruction project of Swat central jail has been suspended over non-availability of funds.

The reconstruction of the jail building, which was severely damaged in the October 2005 earthquake, was started in May 2017. The project was scheduled to be completed within two years at an estimated cost of Rs707 million.

However, the contractor claimed that they were compelled to stop work on this project due to non- availability of funds. The contractor, Sher Ali Khan, told The News that he had run out of funds and halted work on the project. He said that less than 50 percent work has been completed

“Out of the total amount of Rs707 million, the government has released Rs40 million only so far,” he added.

He said that despite their repeated requests and reminders the funds were not released for the project, adding that the construction was not possible until the government released the funds.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Swat Saqib Raza said the district administration had already informed the provincial government about the issue.

“We have taken up the issue with Home and Finance departments and have asked for the release of the funds,” he maintained. He hoped that the government would soon release funds and the project would be completed by December 2019.

Constructed in 1957, Swat Jail was badly damaged in October 2005 earthquake. The then government had shifted the prisoners to Daggar Jail in Buner district and Timergara jail in Lower Dir.

The prisoners are brought for trials from Timergara and Daggar jails which is not only expensive but also involved security risk.

“Sometimes the police fail to bring the prisoner to the court within the required time, and hence it wastes the time of the court and the accused,” Sajid Ali Advocate told The News.

According to officials, more than 400 prisoners from Swat have been kept in Daggar and Timergara jails. “The failure of the government to construct the jail building has also irked the prisoners and their relatives as they are facing problems for years,” said Ahmad Shah, spokesman for the Swat Qaumi Jirga.

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