KARACHI - Sindh Minister for Planning and Development Saeed Ghani on Tuesday said that masses were satisfied with the pace of development work and the network of roads built by the provincial government.

Political opponents of the Sindh government cannot see this due to their bias, Ghani said while addressing a press conference at the Sindh Secretariat along with Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah and officials of the Planning and Development Department. He said the provincial government is facing difficulties in the current year in carrying out development projects because the federal government has not released Rs75 billion funds so far. Despite this, he said, the Sindh government spent more money compared to previous years on development projects.

He said the provincial government was holding the Sindh Development Forum on Wednesday that would be attended by provincial departments, private partners and foreign donor agencies. It would discuss and give recommendations for better utilization of provincial and foreign funds and better cooperation among working groups or departments, he said.

The provincial minister said the Planning and Development Department had initiated a poverty alleviation programme at the union council level and it had helped improve living standards of people in the targeted areas. He said that a neighbourhood improvement programme with the assistance of the World Bank was set to be launched in Karachi soon. Listing the government projects that are under construction and likely to be completed soon, Ghani said the Karachi-Thatta Dual Carriageway, Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Road, Ghotki-Kandhkot Bridge, Malir Expressway, Islamkot Airport and several other projects were nearing completion.  He said that 2008 onwards, 13,625 kilometre roads were built by the provincial government – 7,340 kilometres of new roads and 6,177 kilometres of road repairs. “At least 1,597 schemes of roads were included in development plans by the provincial government from 2008 and 1,390 have been completed while the remaining are in the completion process,” he told.

He said that 22 of the 41 schemes had been completed this fiscal year so far and the remaining would be completed by July this year. He said the provincial government was maintaining quality of work on road networks. Many road projects were halted and funds were stopped on the basis of unsatisfactory reports of monitoring and evaluation cell of the department, he said.  He said that Rs10 billion excess was being spent on development schemes in Karachi and their basic aim was to complete the ongoing schemes rather than launching new schemes every year.