Each Pakistani now owes Rs175,000

Road repair funds always embezzled: contractor

CHITRAL: Government contractors have demanded transparency in the utilisation of the annual maintenance and repair (AM&R) funds for roads in Chitral  by the communication and works department and for irrigation channels by the irrigation department.

A contractor told Dawn on condition of anonymity that a huge amount of money was spent every year on the maintenance of roads, including debris and snow clearance, but it couldn’t be quantified and remained invisible to the people after their execution.

He claimed that the AM&R fund was often misused and fictitious bills for snow and debris clearance were cleared by the department.

The contractor said a tough competition took place among contractors for that reason. He said often things became impossible for contractors as they had to pay 10 per cent as commission to the department. 

He alleged collusion between department engineers and contractors saying they show on paper higher quantity of debris and snow clearance than what is done on ground.

The contractor proposed that the quantity of snow and avalanche debris on roads before and after clearance be recorded in the form of video and photographs for bill clearance.

When contacted, Lower Chitral DC Hassan Abid said the AM&R fund for roads had been substantially reduced after the federalisation of three major roads, including Booni Road, Garam Chashma Road and Bumburate Road.

He agreed to the need for transparency in the quantification and passage of bills by the departments, and proper measures, including recording of videos and photographs, and formation of a special vigilance committee. 

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021

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