KARACHI - Sindh Relief Department and administration of all the rain-affected districts of the province were stunned to note that the cheques released to them, on the directives of Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah for provision of immediate relief, couldn’t be cashed. The amount released by the provincial finance department has not transferred the funds to their accounts, official sources told PPI on Friday.
Soon as the heavy rains lashed various parts of the province causing devastation, the relief department had approached the finance department for release of funds to immediately start the relief activities.
The finance department issued a cheque of Rs139 million only on September 12 when the CM was on a visit to the affected districts of upper Sindh, and the relief department, without any delay, issued cheques to Deputy Commissions of the affected districts. But on September 13, the department was informed that the cheques couldn’t be cashed, sources said.
Official sources feared multiple problems in carrying out relief activities, as the amounts could only be transferred to Deputy Commissioners earliest on Monday or Tuesday. They said the district administration was already facing problems, as they have not yet been paid by the government to clear bills amounting around Rs500 million for the relief activities carried out in 2010 floods.
As per decision of the government, Rs5 million each were sanctioned for six most affected districts, including Jacobabad, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Sukkur, Khairpur and Ghotki, while Rs2 million each for Badin, Thatta, Matiari, Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad and some other districts.
On September 13, the CM again announced Rs50 million each for four districts, including Jacobabad, Kandhkot-Kashmore, Shikarpur and Jacobabad, the most affected areas, but the officials opined that they do not expect release of cheques from the finance department earlier next week. It will take another few days to process through accountant general’s office and treasuries before the amount is transferred to Relief Department and then to the concerned Deputy Commissioners.
It may be mentioned here that Sindh government had allocated Rs500 million in the annual budget for the Relief Department, however, not a single penny was released to it till September 12 last.
When contacted, Haleem Adil Shaikh, Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister for Relief, confirmed the reports and remarked that non-transfer of funds has created a very embarrassing situation for the government and he is writing a letter to the CM apprising him of problems.
“I had been requesting the finance department time and again to transfer the amounts of emergency funds to the Relief Department so that it could be utilised without any delay in case of natural calamity, but all in vain. This is purely a case of mismanagement that has worried all of us, we feel helpless to assist the people in need of hour,” he added. To a question, Haleem Adil, who had been visiting affected areas, said according to him four million people had been affected by heavy rains.