Progressive development planning: Balochistan prepares for a paradigm shift

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QUETTA: After decades of stagnancy in Balochistan, the provincial government intends to bring major changes in development planning, relegating politics and vested interest groups to sidelines.

The government, sources said, intends to urgently provide at least half of the proposed Rs60 billion development budget at the outset, kicking off major projects such as the Quetta Bulk Water Supply Scheme and the Mass Transit System.

In a bid to provide better civic services to the people in Quetta and all district headquarters, this time around, the government would not allow billions of rupees to be monopolised by legislators or ministers.

In a decisive move, the government unceremoniously replaced Additional Chief Secretary Planning and Development Naseebullah Bazai, a strong supporter of the MPA development schemes within the administration, paving the way for principled civil servant Daud Bareech to handle the new situation.

From past experience, one can safely say that the annual development planning has left no impact on the provincial economy and no MPA can cite a single scheme since 1985 that had increased the state revenue or provided jobs to local people.

This time around, strong criticism on economic decisions of successive previous governments resulted in positive action. The tangible nature of the change became visible after Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri himself confirmed the proposed changes, suggesting huge investments on major economic projects during the next fiscal budget. The power base of all divisional and district headquarters will be strengthened by providing substantial resources for provision of essential services to government servants first and later on health and education facilities to the common people in all remote regions.

The budget for the next fiscal year would not be Quetta-centric, the sources said. Funds, the sources said, would be allocated to strengthen the healthcare system in all six divisional headquarters, including setting up medical colleges or post-graduate medical institutions.

The government, it was learnt, was planning to improve the transportation system by importing a sizable number of ‘green’ buses on the pattern of Punjab.

A landmark of next fiscal year’s development budget would be the rail transit system for which a sizable amount of money would be allocated.

 

 

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