Culture dept fails to complete 50% schemes in 2016-17

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KARACHI: The Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department failed to complete even half of its new and old schemes in the 2016-17 fiscal year, while many schemes proposed for the 2017-18 budget were turned down.

This includes the establishment of the Sindh Institute of Music and Performing Arts, Jamshoro at a cost of Rs70 million. The establishment, expansion and improvement of museums in Sindh, the establishment of the much awaited Cultural Village at Umerkot and establishment of the promised Amjad Sabri Institute of Sufi Music and Qawwali in Karachi all failed to gain approval.

Another scheme that was surprisingly not approved was the provision of missing facilities at motels and hotels in Garhi Khuda Bux.

The allocation for the Sindh Department of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities has remained largely the same in the 2017-18 fiscal year, with an allocation of Rs2.88 billion for 63 schemes – 48 ongoing and 15 new. Last year, the culture department was allocated Rs2.01 billion for a total of 66 schemes.

Ongoing schemes that have been approved include the establishment of a museum in Kot Diji, Khairpur district, at an estimated cost of Rs38.83 million. The revised allocation for the project has been listed as Rs4.85 million and is 95% complete.

Similarly, the establishment of the Sindh Culture Heritage Institute in Karachi has been approved as an ongoing project, with a target date for completion by June, 2019. The project’s estimated cost is Rs340.9 million and its actual expenditure is up to June, 2016 is Rs102.6 million.

A scheme for the protection, preservation and promotion of protected archaeological sites and monuments in Sindh has been approved at a cost of Rs333.8 million, with a target date of June, 2019.

Other approved schemes include the construction of guest houses for writers and artists in Karachi and Hyderabad and the provision of a ferry service for tourists in Sukkur and Keenjhar Lake.

Significant approved schemes include the restoration of Sir John Marshall’s vehicle and the creation of a replica of the vehicle at an estimated cost of Rs14.9 million with a target date of completion of June, 2018. The vehicle, which the archaeologist and director general of the Archaeological Survey of India had left behind when he returned to the United Kingdom, was rusting away in Mohen Jo Daro.

Also included in the budget is the preservation, conservation and restoration of the Jufelhurst Public School building at an estimated cost of Rs30 million. Even though the school was listed as a protected heritage site under the Sindh Culture and Heritage Preservation Act, 1994, part of the building was demolished on April 8, 2017.

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