LAHORE - The Punjab government has released more than Rs16 billion for different public welfare projects, in a move aimed to avoid Opposition grilling in assembly.

While the government blamed the negligence of bureaucrats in spending the funds allocated for this fiscal year, it silently transferred the funds after approval of Law Minister Rana Sanaullah yesterday. Punjab finance minister was however absent in the meeting.

The funds are released for the projects including Saafi Paani, Free Laptop, Danish Schools, Health Insurance, and funds for minorities and road and agriculture development. When contacted, the officials in Finance ministry said they were unaware of the funds transfers. However, they said, the funds would have gone to waste, had they not used before the next budget.