Chitral should get funds on basis of area, not population
CHITRAL, Oct 9: The local elected representatives have demanded of the provincial government to take into consideration the enormity of Chitral while making allocation in the annual budget to provide basic amenities to its residents and bring it at par with the developed districts.
Talking to this correspondent here on Wednesday, they said that spreading over an area of 14,850 square kilometres, the district was one-fifth of the entire province but it didn’t get adequate development funds as it had the lowest population in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was 21 persons per square kilometre.
MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin said that it was sheer injustice to make population the only factor for distribution of funds.
He said that 13 districts of the province were smaller than Yarkhoon union council of Chitral as each of those districts had less than 2,000 square kilometers area.
“Three districts of the province have less than 1,000 square kilometres area but their share in the funds was five times greater than Chitral as they have more population,” the MNA said.
MPA Syed Sardar Hussain Shah said that the distance between Arandu in the south and Broghil in the extreme north of Chitral was 450 kilometres while the district was divided into 36 valleys.
He said that a considerable amount of funds was needed to build and maintain infrastructure in such a vast area but it was a pity that allocation of funds in the annual budget was not enough for repair and maintenance of infrastructure in a single valley of Chitral.
Mr Shah said that more than half of the valleys in the district were not connected with proper roads as huge amount of money was needed to construct road through the rough terrains to reach the remote valleys. Keeping in view the yearly allocation of funds for the district it might take hundred years to complete the network of roads in Chitral.
“Due to its topography, the area is prone to natural calamities like flash flood, landslide, glacier outburst and erosion, which wash out the infrastructure and a large sum of money is required for its rehabilitation,” the MPA said.
He said that the roads and water supply schemes, swept away by flash floods in the year 2010 and 2012, were not reconstructed as the departments concerned were short of funds.
Mr Shah said that effective administration through efficient monitoring and supervision of government facilities including public sector schools and hospitals was also not possible in the prevailing circumstances owing to scarcity of resources.
“Is it not a pity that the education department of this district receives the same quantity of fuel for its vehicles which was given to the education department of Charsadda, which has only 962 square kilometers area,” he questioned.
The MPA said that an officer needed more than three weeks to complete the tour of the district. “Despite that the district is treated at par with those districts, which can be covered only in a few hours,” he said.
Mr Shah said that the situation was worse in the public works department where a site engineer hardly found time to visit a development project during its execution to ensure its quality and timely completion.
The MPA suggested bifurcation of the district and special allocation in the budget for it to resolve the problem of its backwardness on permanent basis.
The MPA of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Bibi Fozia, also criticised the population-based allocation and termed it an obstacle to progress of districts like Chitral. She said that her request for more funds for certain development projects was turned down as her district had very low population and did not deserve more funds. However, Ms Fozia hoped that her party would remove the disparity if it remained in power.–Zahiruddin]]>