District Development Package (DDP) of Punjab 2021-22

This piece is in response to Mr. Hasaan Khawar, SACM to the Chief Minister Punjab, who has recently tweeted that District Development Package (DDP) is a game-changer for Punjab. Well, it is not a game-changer.

Budget 2020-21 was prepared with mockery in the name of ‘Development’. Punjab – like KPK – has made one of the stupidest budgets (particularly development portfolio) in years.

A quick look.

Hundreds of thousands of new schemes – tagged under DDP – were included in ADP 2021-22 of Punjab; to make parliamentarians happy. Most of these schemes were non-feasible and against the set rules of development criteria.

For example, a school is proposed near another school (instead of revamping the old one) so that the parliamentarian of the region can cut the ribbon of the new building right before the next general elections.

Similarly, a health facility is being established right within the vicinity of a DHQ or Tertiary Hospital. To cut ribbon. Before election.

And even the calculation is messed up. There are around 20 DDP schemes in ADP 2021-22 which are regarding “Establishment of Trauma Centers” across Punjab. The cost of Trauma Center should be same (at least somewhat). But, no. One trauma center is being established for Rs.50 million while another one is being established for Rs.500 million. Same is the case with schools, BHUs, RHCs, roads, etc. There is no homework and there is no planning.

You remember there were talks of “angry parliamentarians” and “forward block” in Punjab during April-May 2021? This DDP was designed to make them happy. Now they all have something to look forward to cut ribbons around the next General Elections.

With these DDP schemes in ADP 2021-22 worth billions of rupees, CM Office of Punjab directed the Administrative Departments and Local Administrations of the province to approve all the schemes below Rs.50 million by July 21st, from Rs.50 to 400 million by July 31st, and above Rs.400 by August 31st. Even if the schemes were non-feasible.

PC-Is (which is a document of a scheme / project with its complete scope of work, costing, financing, etc.) were prepared within days. Copying one PC-I and pasting it to other 100s. Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners approved (originally approved, principally approved, or pathetically approved) schemes in wholesale. One after another. With or without PC-Is. With or without feasibility. With or without availability of lands / sites. Because they had no other direction from the top, and mostly, the bureaucrats have no ground to stand on.  

There is an online portal called SMDP of P&D Board of Punjab. All the Secretaries, Commissioners, and Deputy Commissioners were in race to mark their schemes as “approved” on the portal. They were approving schemes on Eid-ul-Azha days as well. Don’t be surprised. They were approving schemes without DDC / DDWP meetings.

This is Punjab at the moment. With a stick in the arse, bureaucrats were running around the directions of the CM.

What will this huge DDP portfolio lead to?

Billions will be wasted. With unplanned PC-Is and hassled approvals, long-term results are going to be scaring. Ugly structures with repetitive scope of work and with duplication in equipment and HR; Punjab’s development is going to be hurt in the long-run (technically called: MTDF which is the throw-forward to finance these schemes in future).

This is happening in all 32 departments of Punjab, which fall under the “charismatic” leadership of Planning & Development Board.

Do you know what is the difference between Parliamentarians and Bureaucrats? Nothing. One is cream (expired) and the other is power elite. Both with poor IQ and least concern for the general public. Usually hand-in-hand with the tax-payers money being wasted like this.

Let me give you another example.

Consider the land is free. On a 10 marla plot, you can construct a brand new home, with properly furnished baths and bedrooms, at a cost of Rs.1 crore. Rs.1 crore is a huge amount when you make your own home.

Now come to a government dispensary. Again, the land is free. For a one room dispensary with one shelf, a toilet, a couple of doors, and basic furniture; it will cost Rs.1 crore.

A simple single storey building with a couple of rooms, toilets, and a passage; will have a cost of over Rs.5 crores.

Huge briberies from contractor to SDO to XEN to SE to Chief to all the ugly ducklings in and around the Secretariat move in a discreet manner. That’s the only thing that moves from bottom to top in a swift and sincere manner. With huge corruption, even the newly established structures look old and are ready to leak as soon as there’s Monsoon.

News says that development budget of the province has increased from Rs.337 billion in 2020-21 to Rs.560 billion in 2021-22. But it is not development based on feasibility studies. It is just more. More allocations. More releases. More opportunities. More corruption. More generation of wealth. More ribbons. And more everything.

Random Numbness (Sep 2021)

Long time, no Highness.

It’s easy to accept that 9/11 was an inside job. But it’s tough to get the same insight regarding APS 2014. However, one thing for sure is, both the incidents served intelligence and militaries of the respective countries.

That’s why people like Ehsan Ullah Ehsan escape like Jerry and no one bothers.

Here we are again. Crying out loud in the UN General Assembly for everything we like. Islamophobia. Kashmir. Afghanistan. Taliban. Our cherry-picked favorite topics. Never cried for Yemen and many others.

We have been the pro bono – though not-so-pro-bono – spokesperson for Kashmir since 1947. Not for nothing. We accumulated a mighty arsenal based on Kashmir. India did the same. The two armies suck blood from the poor people for the sake of poorer people of Kashmir. In the name of nationalism and emotions.

The two poor nations have made two huge armies, equipped with atomic bombs, to mess around. A little mess here, a little mess there, and here goes another tranche.

But not everywhere. The monthly border bombings and firings – to keep the armies and their budgets intact – are mostly in Narowal and Sialkot sectors. Though DHA Lahore is much closer. Why not there? Because this is all set. Like 9/11. Like APS 2014.

Why don’t you get that this is all business of the Lords of War?

So, Ehsan Ullahs escape. But that doesn’t concern His Highness. What concerns His Highness is your dumb silence and your unquestioning loyalty. No one took the guards by the collar after he escaped. As if nothing happened. As if cognitive revolution is yet to happen.

Business. Nationalism and patriotism and everything. Your emotions are played. Sometimes with religion and sometimes with music. It works both ways as ISPR has proved. The same people with revealing bodies, cover themselves and give you religious sentiments and ultrasonic vibes, just because they play it better; with and without covers.

Byproducts. Nothing more than that you are.

Come to the current affairs. This includes affairs of Zubair Umar too but let’s save that for later.

Our loudmouth for our brothers from another mother – Talibans – is causing us not only moral embarrassment, but also economic setbacks. With New Zealand and England gone, Cricket is pretty much back to where it was 5 years ago. To be honest, that doesn’t even matter in the macro-economic view.

But we need to be good with words. It is not like PM Imran Khan is talking about women and their bodies and their clothes and men getting erections. It is about foreign affairs and international relations. Your big mouth can put the whole country and all the expats in serious trouble. Faiz’s move to Kabul for a cup of tea is nothing fantastic.

Iran is also on its toes. Things are getting real ugly with all the neighbors getting suspicious about us. We play religion with one. Sectarianism with the other. Brotherhood with the third. And Taya Gee with the fourth. And it is working. Against us.

With our support for ‘talibs’ in Afghanistan, we are disowning our own students in Islamabad. A mess has been created here since President Alvi’s ordinance of Pakistan Medical Commission. The poorly planned, month long, and expensive entry test is dubious. The whole medical system has been hijacked by this regime.

Life was so easy on the container. These same self-righteous men of the disguised-martial-law were supporting doctors and students all the way until they got their foot on the pedal. Now, the dream is collapsing and students are suffering. From the Capital to IBA Karachi. Just like the government itself, the schooling institutions have become Zia in itself. The guy who blew the whistle of harassment was expelled by IBA Karachi. How cool is that?

Because when nobody talks, nothing happens. No one escapes. No one is guilty.

Congratulations on the petrol price hike by the way. Again. While Zubair Umar was digging, and people were digging his digging, the actual petroleum products’ digging went up globally. There is petroleum crisis around the world. So, this time, we have a justification. But this utter nonsense of hiking prices every fortnight is ugly. Plus, we have so many other business oriented hikes like of sugar, wheat, medicine and other commodities.

Now the tapes. Hidden cameras. Hotel rooms. And stuff like that. Your favorite part of the post.

This happens everywhere, and when it’s with consent, you can buzz off. Your moral policing and bickering is not required because you are not the PM as yet. It’s happening. Just because you dislike Manto and your eyes are shut, doesn’t mean the greasing isn’t happening. It has been happening since the beginning. (Not advocating it.)

The point is: it shouldn’t be a tool to ridicule or embarrass anyone. It is Zubair now. A while back it was Sheikh Rashid. Before that there have been various celebrities, politicians, muftis, major sb, and common people. That was all with consent and you don’t need to play God. Disagree, please. But don’t ridicule.

It is absolutely wrong to be exposed this way. Equally wrong for all genders. As a society, we are losing morality. This way, private lives can be mocked right from the Prime Minister’s personal life to everyone.

Don’t watch. Don’t share. And ignore. This can be you tomorrow.

By the way, this is the right thing to ignore. But you choose to ignore Ehsan Ullahs. And your questions. And your conscientiousness.

And His Highness.