Forest dept offices dysfunctional for want of funds
HYDERABAD: The day-to-day activities of the Sindh forest department have been hampered badly due to a serious financial crunch, it emerged on Friday.
Sources said that the department was facing problems for want of non-salary object funds or operating expenses.
They said that the Sindh finance department had released an amount of Rs18.50 million only on July 2 for the first quarter ending Sept 30 during the current financial year for incurring the expenditures of the offices.
The forests secretary was reluctant to release the amount and basically lower formation, including the offices, were unable to carry out essential operations including season specific regenerations of forests and other basic operations and maintenance works.
“On the one hand, the chief conservator of forests (CCF) is ignored and not informed about an encroachment removal order by the Sindh chief secretary and on the other the budget is being deliberately stopped,” said an official on the condition of anonymity. “This is in fact a strategic conspiracy against the forest department.”
He said that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also held the portfolio of the forest department and he must take a serious notice of the situation.
The sources said that the working condition in the office of the CCF (riverine and inland forests) and the lower offices were worst as even no office stationery was available for routine work and no funds were available to run the official vehicles.
Most important contingent labour and regeneration activities were badly affected. This had rendered all offices utterly dysfunctional and unable to carry out public interest work including encroachment removal campaign, the sources added.
They said that the first-quarter fund, already released by the finance department, could be released for basic functions and activities including regeneration, stationery, printing and publication, computer stationery, repair and maintenance of the transport, computer equipment, petroleum, oil and lubricants, postage, etc, for smooth working.