Addressing economic ills of Balochistan

The Supreme Court passed certain remarks in its recent judgement on law and order situation of Balochistan observing that there was mass frustration among the youth, mainly educated youth, in finding no jobs and no means to earn their livelihood in a decent manner. The observations made by the Supreme Court are truly valid and close the reality on the ground as youth had been denied jobs or means for earning a livelihood in a decent manner. There were massive complaints that certain Ministers had sold the Government jobs to the highest bidders, almost all belonging to the northern Balochistan who got the money and bought the jobs at the cost of south, east, north and central Balochistan. The flaw is in the State policy and the rulers wasted billions of rupees meant for economic development. The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) was for the MPAs and the Ministers and not for the people or improve the lot of the people in the backdrop of rampant, poverty, hunger and diseases. In these columns we had challenged the Government that it cannot identify a single important scheme that had left an economic impact on provincial economy or provided jobs to the needy young people or increased the revenue of the Provincial Government to generated funds for future development.
The Provincial Government, sooner or later, will have to do away with its present faulty programme of PSDP and prepare schemes that should left an economic impact on the economy and life of the people or improve production, make Balochistan fruit and food basket of the whole region. The waste on building gutters, nullah and gates at various residential localities of Quetta should be stopped and the money should be spent to improve the civic services besides improving quality of life ensuring bacteria-free drinking water supply and a proper sewerage and garbage disposal system.
The Federal Government had handed over more than Rs seven billions to BDA and other Government Departments for building desalination plants to augment water supply to Gwadar. The entire money provided by the Federal Government had gone waste and for the past eight years, not a single drop of water was procured from those costly desalination plants established in Gwadar. Rs seven billions are gone waste or embezzled. Now the entire population of Gwadar is on the verge of exodus because there is no water available, the funds for desalination plants had been embezzled or gone waste. The Ankara Kaur Dam flopped because of the structural fault in the design of the dam by the NESPAK silting up the dam in 15 years instead of half a century as it was originally designed. More surprising thing is that the Government is making no efforts to desilt the Ankara Kaur Dam during the current dry spell preparing to store more water in the dam in coming rains which are expected this winter. More over the Dam should be reconstructed and it should be raised on the pattern of Mangla Dam where more water storage facility was created by the engineers.
The generous allocation of funds to Balochistan under the new NFC Award had gone waste as the money was not spent judiciously and for the benefit of the entire people of Balochistan. The Government should spend the money on vital economic projects leaving an impact on the provincial economy generating more revenue for the Provincial Government, creating jobs, raising production, making Balochistan self sufficient in food production from a food deficit province, building a decent infrastructure for future development. The Provincial Government can easily curtail its expenses. The Finance Secretary made a grand saving while releasing funds for different projects and schemes and all the money was usurped by the Planning and Development Department considering it’s a windfall additional revenue, besides PSDP, giving no credit to the Finance Secretary for his hard efforts.

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