CHITRAL; The routine business in the departments devolved to
the district government are at the verge of collapse as the
non-salary budget passed by the district council three months ago
is yet to implemented due to the row between the district nazim and
the district Finance Department.
Sources in the departments including Education, Health and others
told Chitral Times that the offices were facing financial
crunch for meeting the expenses of routine needs ranging from
petrol for vehicles to utility bills and entertainment.
They said that telephone and electricity connections of most of the
offices are under notice to be disconnected for want of payment of
bills in the first week of next month while the petrol pumps have
refused to provide petrol to the vehicles on credit any more.
The genesis of the issue emanated with the passage of non-salary
budget of the devolved departments in the district council three
months ago when the house curtailed Rs.16.80 million from the
non-salary component of the budget and diverted it to the head of
maintenance and repair (M&R) of roads and government buildings.
The sources said that the diversion become a bone of contention
between the district council and its finance department as the
latter termed the diversion of a large chunk of non-salary budget
to M&R an uncalled-for practice and did not approve it in exercise
of the authority given in the Rules of Business of the local
When the district officer, Finance, Noorul Amin was contacted by
Chitral Times , he said that the deduction of 16.80 million rupees
and diversion to M&R had been justified by the district council on
the ground that by that time the provincial government had released
nil amounts for the purpose.
He said that he did not approve the non-salary budget on two
grounds; firstly the legality of the very practice was in doubt and
secondly, the provincial government had in the meanwhile released a
large sum of 44 million rupees to the district government for M&R.
“But the district government remained steadfast in its decision of
retaining the amount deducted from the non-salary budget”, he said
adding that he had no choice but to refer the matter to deputy
commissioner who functions as principal accounting officer of the
The matter was sent by the DC to the finance department seeking
guidance about the questions of whether two M&R budgets (one
district and other provincial) could be maintained in the district
simultaneously and whether a non-salary budget could be deducted
for diversion to other purposes, said Mr. Amin.
He said that the answers to the queries are being awaited by the
district finance offices and action will be taken on the guidance
as provided by the province.
When the district naib nazim Maulana Abdul Shakoor was contacted to
know his version, he said that the district council had acted well
within its ambit of authority without transgressing it.
He said that keeping in view the specific geography and the
enormity of the area coupled with the devastating flash floods of
the previous year, it was indispensable for the house to make
arrangement for maintenance of roads in the budget.
“For this purpose, we had obtained from the provincial government
as well and we had no option other than trimming the non-salary
budget to salvage the devastated roads across the district”, he
The budget passed by the house was binding on the finance
department and its principal accounting officer and it should have
been approved readily without making inconvenience for the devolved
Mr. Shakoor said that the district government had made conditional
curtailment from the non-salary budget to the affect that the
amount will be returned to the devolved departments as and when the
M& R budget is released by the provincial government during the
He said that the session of the house was being convened during the
first week of the next month in which the matter of the
non-compliance of the budget passed by it will be put forward for
discussion to take course of action.