LAHORE  - The Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has approved the name of Sajid Hussain Rizvi for the Asian Development Funded Project, Lower Bari Duab Canal (LBDC) rehabilitation, TheNation has learnt on Friday.

The Project Director will supervise the LBDC and other ADB funded rehabilitation projects continued on different canals and barrages in Punjab.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat said that the CM Shahbaz Sharif wanted a person who stands high on the merit list as project director to ensure transparency in the ADB funded programmes including the LBDC. To materialise the merit policy the S&GAD Regulation Wing had rejected the name of a person who did not deserve for the coveted slot. The Secretary Regulation had written that the name of an officer who was on the lowest level on the grounds that an officer facing major penalties could not be posted on significant post.

Earlier, the Punjab Irrigation Minister in a summery moved to the Chief Secretary a couple of days back had recommended the name of an officer Riaz Rasheed, who stood on number three on the merit list. The special committee, Planning & Development (P&D), Irfan Elahi Chairman, as its head, was formulated to serve the purpose. The committee had shortlisted the penal of suitable candidates for the post. The administrative secretaries of the Finance, Irrigation and the Regulation departments were other members.  After scrutinising the applications, the committee had shortlisted three applicants, including Director Procurement Project Management Office Barrages Irrigation Department Ejaz-ul-Hassan Kashif, XEN Head Baloki Syed Sajid Hussain Rizvi and Superintendent Engineer Upper Chenab Canal Circle Riaz Rasheed. Though some of the committee members wrote dissenting note and recommended the name of Rizvi suitable for the slot and the other two, according to them, were not competent enough to be posted as project director. Ejaz-ul-Hassan Kashif was on the top of the list while Sajid Rizvi and Riaz Rasheed were on second and third positions.

The Irrigation Department Punjab ignoring the committee recommendations had forwarded the name of an officer who was on third positions. As per the interview results, Riaz Rasheed who enjoys support of the minister could not answer the questions on financial matters asked by the committee satisfactorily, the sources told. However, the department had recommended Riaz Rasheed as LBDC director. 

A senior officer of the P&D conditioning anonymity confirmed that an audit-para still existed about Sajid Rizvi when he was XEN Chakwal, Ejaz-ul-Hassan was involved in the Taunsa Barrage Inquiry whereas Riaz Rasheed was served big penalty in the departmental inquiry.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) had funded LBDC project worth Rs 21.78 billion which would be completed by September 30, 2015. The Lower Bari canal irrigates 1.7 million acre in district Okara, Sahiwal, Kasur and Khanewal. The same bank has been funding the rehabilitation of Baloki Barrage, BS Link and other canals.

A Punjab government officer said that officers with clear career should be appointed on international donor agencies funded projects and the authorities including ministers should avoid interfering into the affairs of executive. He said that the supremacy of law demands best officers on important seats.