Friday November 26, 2021

Govt spends billions on ruling MPs’ uplift schemes

These schemes include sewerage and drainage work, street/road construction, soling and PPC (plain cement concrete) work, etc.

February 13, 2021
Construction work underway.

ISLAMABAD: The federal and provincial governments already spend billions of rupees every year on the development schemes of MPs, particularly those belonging to the treasury benches -- a fact that was not revealed to the apex court in the recent case about the PM’s announcement of development funds for the ruling party MPs.

Although, the case has been disposed of, official documents show the federal government has been regularly issuing tenders for ordinary development schemes in chaks, villages and UCs of the provinces.

These schemes include sewerage and drainage work, street/road construction, soling and PPC (plain cement concrete) work, etc. According to the law, these schemes are the responsibility of local governments and tehsil/district administrations. However, in these cases, on the recommendation of ruling MPs, the federal government has been implementing such schemes through federal agencies like Pak-PWD.

While the tender documents do not mention the name of the concerned MPs, they generally refer to the National Assembly constituencies where the development schemes are being initiated by the federal government.

For example, the federal government recently issued tenders, which are also available on the PPRA’s website, for the construction of PCC in street No 14, Hussainabad and Dry Port Colony UC 184, NA-129 Lahore. Rs 1.5 million was allocated for this scheme. For the construction of PCC at Lorex Colony Ghaziabad in the same UC and NA constituency, construction of PCC worth Rs 2.2m has also been tendered.

For sewerage and drain work in streets and other local level small schemes in other UCs (No 146, 147, 148,149, 150, 151, 152, 157, 158, 159 and 160) of the NA-129 constituency, several other tenders were also issued by the federal government from the Centre’s budget.

Through another tender issued by the federal government, reconstruction of a five-kilometer-long link road in UC Kundi of Tehsil Ghazi, District Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is sought. Recently, the federal government has also issued tenders for 14 development schemes approved for different chaks of district Bahawalpur. These schemes include the laying of soling, repair and construction of metal roads in the chaks.

According to another tender, approved and advertised, 21 development schemes are being launched by the federal government in different UCs of NA-65 and PP-23. A five-member bench of the Supreme Court had taken up the case relating to the alleged distribution of Rs 500m uplift funds among legislators. PM Imran Khan, who was also asked to respond to the court on this issue, had denied that Rs 500 million of public funds were distributed among the parliamentarians and said no money would be given to the legislators to carry out any development work.

However, Justice Faez Isa, on whose initiative the five-member bench took up the case, questioned the premier’s assurance by presenting a Whatsapp message he had received from an unknown source. The message contained supporting documents showing that massive amounts were doled out recently for building roads by the Pak-PWD department in the constituency NA-65 that happens to be that of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat. The chief justice, however, disposed of the matter with an observation that Justice Isa should not hear the case being a complainant against the prime minister in another case.