Punjab Safe City Authority Finally Receives Funds to Start Working Again

After a long delay, Punjab’s home department has disbursed Rs. 664.7 million to Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA) for three quarters of FY 2019-20.

Operations at the PSCA came to a halt due to a financial crisis sparked after the police and bureaucracy locked horns to assert their authority over the Rs. 17 billion megaproject. The crisis resulted in 50% of the CCTV cameras in Lahore going offline while Huawei Technologies, the project’s technology vendor, suspended its services due to non-payment of dues.

Moreover, PSCA did not pay salaries to its employees due to a lack of funds. The E-Challan system had also stopped working. With just days left in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), main roads, sensitive installations, and government buildings of Lahore were at risk as a result of non-functioning CCTV cameras.

However, Chief Minister Punjab, Usman Buzdar, intervened and directed Punjab’s Cabinet Committee on Law and Order to resolve the matter as it jeopardized the security of the provincial capital.

At the directives of Law and Order Committee, officials from the home department called on IG Punjab, Shoaib Dastagir, to find a way out of this conundrum. Once the stakeholders reached a consensus, the home department sent a summary to CM Punjab for approval and disbursement of Rs. 664.7 million.

A spokesman for the Punjab government, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, reiterated that the security of public life and property remains the top priority of the PTI government. The disbursement of funds will ensure peace and security throughout the capital.

Punjab Police and Bureaucracy’s Conflict

Last year in April, the power struggle between Punjab police and bureaucracy intensified when the latter surreptitiously made a move to bring PSCA under its authority by amending the rules.

Although the home department sent a summary to CM Punjab in this regard, Punjab cabinet foiled bureaucracy’s attempt and directed the Punjab police to keep overseeing the operations of PSCA.

PSCA was mired in all sorts of financial and administrative challenges since. The conflict not only delayed the completion of safe city projects in Murree and Rawalpindi, but PSCA also failed to start similar projects in D.G Khan and Taunsa, all thanks to the bureaucracy.

Via: Express Tribune

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