SIALKOT

Prolonged delayed educational projects of two government girls' degree colleges each named after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif are faced with shortage of funds and awaiting completion in Sialkot.

The Punjab govt had started the projects of these colleges a few years ago, but could not provide the required funds to ensure timely completion of the projects.

On April 25, 2012, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had laid foundation stone of the construction of the building of Govt Nawaz Sharif Girls Degree College situated on main Sialkot-Pasrur Road. The project had to be completed within a stipulate period of one and half years with a total estimated cost of Rs120 million but the project is still incomplete. Thirty five percent construction of the building is complete while the rest is lying incomplete due to the funds paucity. The officials concerned said that the main reason behind this inordinate delay in completion of the project was unavailability of needed funds.

Similarly, the building of recently established Govt Shahbaz Sharif Girls Degree College Jaamkey Cheema in Daska tehsil is lying non-functional due to the same reason. The chief minister had announced the establishment of the college in December 2009 at an estimated cost of Rs67.783m and the construction of the building was to be completed in December 2011 in a stipulated period of two years. A period of four years has passed but the construction work has not yet been completed.

Ninety six percent work has already completed but the lack of funds is a hurdle in the completion of the project. The local students are unable to get higher education at this college.

When contacted, District Officer (Colleges) Shamas Malik told this scribe that the situation had already been repeatedly brought into the Education Department high ups' notice for the early release of funds. He said that no funds have yet been released for the completion of the project. He said only Rs2.5m were needed to complete this construction. He said that the contractor had already fled away after leaving the construction work incomplete.

"Early release of the needed funds will be helpful in re-start of the suspended construction work," he said. Expressing grave concerns over the situation, the local notables exhorted the Punjab chief minister to take a serious notice of the situation and ensure early functioning of these projects.