KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has instructed the Finance Department to sign a fresh agreement with Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) which will pave way for releasing Rs1billion to the gas company for completion of gas supply programme in the villages of Sindh, sources told The Nation. According to sources, the Chief Minister Secretariat has written a letter to the Additional Chief Secretary of Planning and Development Department of Sindh, reminding that a contract agreement was made between the Sindh government and SSGCL in January 2009, under which an amount of Rs900 million was released to the company. A large number of villages proposed/recommended for supply of gas by the elected functionaries have been forwarded to Planning and Development Department from time to time under Chief Ministers directive. Quoting the letter of Chief Ministers Secretariat sources said that it had been reported that the said amount had been utilised, therefore, new schemes of gas were not being entertained by SSGCL due to shortage of funds. Keeping the running out of funds released to SSGCL, the Chief Ministers Secretariat said that a fresh contract agreement amounting to Rs1 billion was to be made between the government of Sindh and SSGCL, which has yet not been made. Sources in CM House said that the Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah had taken serious note of delay and desired for expedient action in this regard, so that the schemes of gas forwarded by the CM Secretariat be executed without further delay. Official sources confirmed that after direction issued by the CM Secretariat, the Additional Chief Secretary of Planning and Development Department has prepared a summary for the CM, which proposed that Finance Department be directed to take expedient action and sign an agreement with SSGCL, and release the funds amounting to Rs1 billion at the earliest. An official concerned told The Nation that in order to accelerate the implementation pace and relieve the schemes from protracted bureaucratic hurdles; a prudent decision was made by the Sindh CM during January 2009, under which an interest bearing loan amounting to Rs900 million was approved for SSGCL. However, they said the CM had also directed that henceforth the facilitation work of gas facility would be performed by the Planning and Development Department instead of SGA&CD. The P&D Department accordingly facilitated the signing of a loan agreement between the finance department and SSGCL on January 28, 2009. During the current financial year, an amount of Rs1 billion has been earmarked for gas supply programme, official said. He said that the funds earlier disbursed to the SSGCL had been exhausted on 136 villages approved by the Chief Ministers Secretariat, amounting to Rs950 million. In order to implement the new directives, a fresh interest bearing loan agreement needs to be signed between the finance department and SSGCL, P&D Department said.