LAHORE - The Chief Minister's Inspection Team (CMIT) which serves as the 'eyes and ears' of the chief executive of the province with more than Rs50 million annual budget has not a single worthwhile inquiry in hand to justify its huge budget and large salaries of its seven-member team.

Sources in the city government department like LDA, WASA, TEPA etc said that since general elections were approaching the development projects worth billions of rupees were underway in the province to win the sympathies of the voters by the present rulers.

They also alleged that there was open corruption in these development projects by government staff. CMIT which was formed with the objective to strictly monitor these development projects was keeping mum and no notable corruption was unearthed by this department.  As per sources, a contractor who qualifies for any development project has to pay 15 to 20 percent of the total worth of the project as bribe to different officers of the concerned department.

A contractor seeking anonymity said that he has to pay 2 percent of the total estimated amount to each of the following departments, to the overseer of the concerned department, to the SDO, to the XEN, to the Director, and then the rate increased and he has to pay 3 to 4 percent to MPA of the concerned area and 2 percent to NESPAK representatives. "After making all payments we have to pay 2 to 3 percent to the chief engineer for issuance of work order" the contractor lamented.

He said billions was being spent only in Lahore on the development projects such as the Intelligent Transport System, Ferozpur Flyover, construction of roads, sewerage system and fences and other projects across the Punjab.

He said there was corruption in millions in all the projects but CMIT representatives did not visit or inspect any of the projects.

Functions of CMIT mentioned in rules of business are to inspect sample development projects throughout the province with the objectives that development projects are properly planned and executed efficiently and economically with effective quality control and to recommend appropriate action against the defaulting officials.

Government directives regarding development projects are being fully implemented. Officials of National Building Departments and contractors are carrying out their duties, responsibilities and tasks are properly and efficiently being done.

An officer of CMIT said that the prime duty of the Team is to review the progress on ADP twice a year and submit observations / recommendations to the Chief Minister.  Take cognizance for any important matter affecting Government / Public interest and draw attention of the authorities concerned for appropriate action and place it before the Chief Minister for his consideration.

The Chairman, Chief Minister's Inspection Team shall submit his reports to the Chief Minister directly. Copies may be endorsed to the concerned departments / officials except those which may be of confidential nature. The Chief Minister's Inspection team shall maintain close liaison with Anti Corruption Department and pass on cases which may be appropriate to be dealt with by them. It is worth mentioning here that CMIT officials were not only maintaining high secrecy about the performance of the department but also have kept the column of budget secret for the team on its official website due to unknown reasons. Performance of the team was displayed on the website up to the year 2008 and after that no updates were shown.

Apparently there were few inquiries on the part of CMIT including PIC drugs case, Kalar Kahar incident wherein school children were killed in a bus accident and plaza demolition case. When this scribe tried to get information about their performance and contacted two of its members, both of them were not willing to talk and one of them was very touchy about the high secrecy of the department.

He said, "Who are you to ask about the performance of the department". Chairman of the team after promising to talk to this reporter two days later, did not attend his cell phone on the appointed day.