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    October 26, 2016

Detail

 


Financial crisis hits many departments in Chitral

By Zahiruddin

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 government.

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 district government.

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 said.

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 departments.

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 financial year.

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.


 

 

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