KARACHI - The Environment and Alternative Energy Department of Sindh has showed dismal performance in the utilisation of funds allocated for development schemes during FY2008-09. The ten months performance report of provincial departments compiled by Planning and Development Department of Sindh Government regarding utilisation of Annual Development Programme unveiled the disappointed performance of Environment Department. According to report, at least Rs150 millions were allocated for 15 schemes, 6 on-going and 9 new schemes, while Rs11.455 million were released against which Rs1.313 million during ten months (July to April) of current year. The report said the utilised funds were 11.4 per cent of released which seemed totally unsatisfactory. The report observed that the environment degradation has been witnessed more frequently in Sindh than any other part of the country. Several historic water bodies which were a source of livelihood for communities were polluted, causing hardship to these communities. No substantial mitigation measures were taken in the past to avoid hardship to these poor communities. As such to correct the historical mistakes need a lot of resources and technical support from developing partners, report said, adding that keeping in view the limited financial resources available in the current financial years ADP 2008-09, an amount of Rs.150m were earmarked for 9 schemes of Environment & Alternative Energy Department. Out of which Rs30m have been kept for 6 ongoing schemes/ studies. According to report available to The Nation, the ongoing programs cover the study for Arsenic Contamination in underground water in Sindh, environmental study on hospital waste management, public awareness and environmental education in urban/ rural Sindh and to monitor vehicles emitting poisonous gases through latest smoke analysers. Meanwhile, an amount of Rs120m were kept for 3 new schemes for the Construction of Regional Offices of Environmental Protection Agency at Sukkur and Hyderabad and auditorium at EPA Complex at Karachi. New scheme has been undertaken by Environment Sector namely Feasibility Study and Remedial Measures for restoration of lakes and other water bodies in Sindh at a cost of Rs.500m with an allocation of Rs.50m during the current financial years ADP 2008-09 so that the sources of the sewerage water being mixed with fresh water bodies and lakes to be identified and remedial measures at source to be undertaken. But, the progress on above mentioned projects remained dismal during ten months due to number of reasons. The government had initiated another project with joint partnership between Govt. of Sindh, Civil Society organisations and Communities for installation of Solar Panels, Wind Mills and Biogas Plants to provide energy to the remote areas, installation of Desalination Plants to provide potable water and Climate change adaptation technologies to improve the livelihoods/ living standard of the poor Communities in Rural, Mountainous and Arid Areas of Sindh. In this regard, new scheme at cost of Rs200m with an allocation of Rs50m had also been included in current financial years ADP 2008-09. However, according to report, in this regard no such significant achievement has been made so far. Further, installation of 1,108 purification and Reverse Osmosis Plants in all Union Councils of Sindh would be undertaken in the mega project Clean Drinking Water for All. Out of 1,108, just 75 Plants have been operational. Moreover, 54 fire tenders would be provided to TMAs in Sindh. The report of the Planning and Development Department has also mentioned some impediments such as slow implementation of development schemes, ineffective mechanism and lack of proper awareness among masses about protection of environment and its conservation. It may be noted here that the number of new schemes would be included in upcoming provincial budget, which is expected to be presented on Monday, 15 June, 2009.