KARACHI - The Sindh government has allocated Rs 4.175 billion for safe drinking water schemes and sanitation in the annual budget 2011-12 against last years Rs 3.7 billion allocation. The budget documents showed that physical planning and housing had been allocated Rs 4.175 billion, under which the government had given high priority to the provision of potable water supply and proper sanitation all over Sindh in the annual development programme for 2011-12. The planning and development department in its documents has unveiled that Sindh has highest concentration of urban population at 49 per cent as compared an overall country average of 32.5 per cent, making it the most urbanised province in the country. But this urbanisation has come at a rapid pace and has put considerable strain on the existing urban infrastructure. The government in its budget documents said that lack of availability of potable water had caused people to suffer from waterborne diseases like hepatitis, gastroenteritis, cholera, typhoid, and kidney infections, etc. A significant amount of Rs 1 billion has been earmarked for ensuring clean drinking water facility for people of this province, under which a scheme to establish clean drinking water hubs has been included in the next ADP, the budget documents said. At least 2,500 clean drinking water plants would be established in the next fiscal year with a hope that this initiative would not only ensure provision of safe drinking water to the people of Sindh but would also help curtail expenditure on waterborne diseases. The schemes initiated by government under its development portfolio were of safe drinking water, solid waste management, sewage and drainage. Furthermore, the budget documents stated that the Sindh government allocated a major portion of the allocation to the physical planning and housing for the construction of new schemes of urban and rural drainage system, drinking water supply and improvement, repair, extension and restoration of ongoing schemes of both drainage, sewage system, waste water management and drinking water supply systems. The Sindh Government has made paradigm shift through focusing on ongoing schemes in Sindh budget FY2011-12. Out of provincial development outlay of Rs111 billion, a major chunk of funds to the tune of Rs63.859 billion, which stood at 85 per cent, have been earmarked for the ongoing 1254 schemes as more funds diverted for the schemes which are nearer completion in next 18 months. However, rest of the provincial share of ADP, Rs47.141 billion, which stood at 42 per cent, allocated for 483 new schemes It may be recalled that the over 11000 villages were washed away in devastating floods in last year in Sindh, however majority of the flood affected people were still settled them without any government help. Under its flood rehabilitation programme, the Sindh Government has allocated Rs2 billion in FY2011-12 for rehabilitation of flood affected 40,000 houses of 200 villages in Kashmore, Dadu, Larkana, Nausheroferoze and Jamshoro districts. Besides, a huge amount of Rs2 billion had been allocated for rehabilitation of flood towns including Qubo Saeed Khan, Khairpur Nathan Shah and Garhi Khero, which were totally inundated in floodwater, led destroying the municipal infrastructure of towns. According to details of water and sanitation allocations available in the budget documents, a handsome chunk of Rs1.550 billion had been earmarked for Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department for 160 ongoing schemes of dinking water supply and sanitation. The Local Government Minister of Sindh Agha Siraj Durrnai recently told the Sindh Assembly that the implementation of water supply and sanitation schemes come under purview of the PHE department, which handover to Taluka/Town Municipal Administration (TMAs) after completion, however TMAs are lack funds to successfully run the schemes. Resultantly, a huge number of schemes were lying non-functional due to lack of funds to repair them, he had observed. However, the major chunk of MPAs also recommends their funds for construction of new schemes and repair, improvement, extension and restoration of rural drainage and drinking water supply schemes. However, the government has proposed Rs 40 million for each MPA in the budget 2011-12. However, it is common opinion that allocating funds and enhancing number of schemes would not serve any purpose to benefit the people until their involvement is recognised as equally owner of the initiative to run the schemes successfully.