The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has reduced more than Rs1.82 billion from the annual development fund of tourism, sports and youth development department despite the fact that the department has spent 96 per cent of its Rs5 billion allocated funds for the financial year 2019-20.
Due to the reduction in the uplift fund, it is feared that the ongoing projects in the tourism, sports and youth affair department, would not be completed on time.
Tourism department sources told Pakistan Today that there is a reduction in government revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, but tourism is still the only department in the province which has most of the opportunities to collect billions in revenue. Sources said that the department had launched major projects to promote tourism in the province.
The sources added that KP government had said that for the departments which have utilised a maximum of their development budget in the financial year 2019-20, there will be no deductions from their ADP fund due to the situation caused by the coronavirus.
The KP government had set aside Rs5.90 billion for the Department of Sports, Tourism, Culture, Archeology and Youth Affairs last year out of which Rs3.35 billion were released. The department has utilized more than 99 per cent of the released funds.
However, the provincial government has reduced the development fund allocated this year. The KP government has allocated Rs4.86 billion for the department for the financial year 2020-21 out of which Rs2.91 billion were released for ongoing project while Rs1.17 billion are for undertaking new projects.
The uplift fund of the department has been cut by Rs1.82 billion, which has affected many ongoing projects of the department. According to sources, the provincial government has been claiming for the day first to improve the tourism infrastructure in the province. The department was spending billions of rupees on finding and developing new tourist spots and was establishing tourists camping pods at tourist sights.
Besides this, the construction of new sports grounds in different districts on which the development work is in the final stages, but there is a risk that these projects will not be completed on time due to the reduction of uplift funds.