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New uplift projects see upward cost revision

By Intikhab Amir 2013-12-10
PESHAWAR, Dec 9: Khyber Palchtunkhwa`s Annual Development Programme has undergone necessary cost adjustments as some new projects will require more money for completion than projected costs, shows the official data.

There are at least 15 new development projects, which will collectively require Rs857.97 million more money than the costs estimates reflected in the ADP document at the time of its unveiling in June 2013, according to the data.

Development planners consider this a routine affair.

`It takes time for development plans to mature,` said a relevant official.

Many new development projects reflected in the ADP every year, he said, were usually half-cooked ideas with cost estimates to be revisited again before the plans were finally put before the competent approving forums.

Of the 33 development projects approved by the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) in its Dec 4 meeting, 15 will collectively require Rs9.2 billion to complete in accordance with the latest figures submitted to the PWDP.

These projects include construction of buildings for rented schools, completion of women and children hospital in Peshawar, construction of dams, establishment of energy monitoring unit in the provincial finance department, establishment of water and sanitation company, construction of office building for population welfare department, improvement/rehabilitation/modernisation of industrial estates, computerisation of land record in some districts, construction of building for the provincial revenue academy in Peshawar, construction of central police office in Peshawar, construction judicial complex in Chitral, energy audit of civil secretariat and conversion to solar electrification, and feasibility studies to be conducted in the fields of agriculture, energy, roads, and security.

Against the Rs9.2 billion collective cost of these projects granted approval by PDWP, the total cost of completion of these proj-ects comes to Rs8.342 billion as reflected in the current fiscal`s development programme, which the provincial assembly approved in June this year.

If not anomalous and irregular, this shows poor budget making on the part of the provincial bureaucracy.

`This is not new as this happens every year,` said another official. He said the government departments when asked to provide new plans for a new ADP, they submit whatever they tended to have in their table drawers.

Some are dropped by the planning and development department at the time of the ADP`s preparation every year for being too flimsy to be included in the annual plan.

Still many half-cooked plans, added the official, made it to the final document assented approval by the provincial assembly.

The ADP gets finalised as soon as the PDWP and other development forums competent to grant approval to new development plans begin deliberations in November onwards every year, according to the sources.

The 33 new development projects approved on Dec 4 involved a total completion cost of Rs14.35 billion.

However, according to figures compiled from the ADP document, these projects would collectively get Rs2.94 billion this fiscal ending June 30, 2014.

According to officials, new projects have historically been released less money in their first year of execution.

`It takes time to formally launch a new project as you need to arrange staff, put them in an office building, have them equipment, transportation (if needed), and set them to be on their own,` said a planner.

A cursory look at the list of projects approved by the PDWP, there are at least eight projects that are not actually new projects though they have been shown in the portfolio of new development schemes.

These projects have had recorded some expenses until June 30, 2013.

Among them, one project pertains to the provincial finance department, three to health sector, and one each to population welfare department, roads sector, and home and tribal affairs department.