Rs 170m for culture, youth affairs
THE Punjab government apathy towards the vital sectors of information, culture and youth affairs remains the same as the annual budget 2011-2012 allocations for these sectors have been made Rs 170 million, the same meagre amount allocated in 2010-2011 budget.
For the fiscal year 2011-12, Rs 170 million allocation has been made with a visibly downward trend in supporting, patronizing and boosting the culture of the province. It is quite evident that promotion of the culture of the land of the five rivers, and affairs of its youth do not have priority while allocating money as Rs 170 million have been allocated this fiscal year against Rs 170 million of the last year’s budget for this vital sector with the last year’s decrease of 26 percent being carried forward this year too. It seems that nobody in the power corridors is interested in the promotion of Punjab’s culture and the wellbeing of its youth.
The fiscal year 2011-12 budgetary allocations is an indication to the fact that the Punjab government has put the culture and youth affairs on the bottom of its priorities list with no concern towards the mental and physical wellbeing of the people of this province.
The present budget has been more of a rude shock to the custodians and supporters of cultural and youth related activities in this already suffocating and terror-stricken bleak atmosphere.
This year’s priorities on the budgetary papers issued on Friday include re-construction of Murree Arts Council, construction of auditorium in arts councils at Sargodha, DG Khan, Gujranwala, preservation/restoration of fortification wall of Shujabad, construction of Information and Cultural Complex in Rawalpindi, conservation and development of Katas Raj Complex, construction of conservation lab in Bahawalpur Museum, which are all ongoing schemes, being carried forward from the previous year.
The new initiatives being taken in the budget 2011-12 included archaeological survey and documentation of forts and important monuments of Cholistan (PC-II), development of parking and public utility area at Shalamar Garden, preservation and restoration of shrine of Bibi Jiwindi Tomb Complex, Uch Sharif, master plan for preservation and restoration of Shahdara Complex of Monuments, Jahangir’s Tomb.
The Punjab government has planned to spend Rs 131.095 million on 13 ongoing schemes and seven devolved projects in the fiscal year 2011-12. A sum of Rs 38.90 million has been earmarked for five regular schemes in the province with a block allocation of Rs 17.90, included in this allocation.
The major ongoing schemes include conservation and development of Katas Raj Complex with a budgetary provision of Rs 10 million, construction of auditorium for Sargodha Arts Council (Rs 1 million) and construction of auditorium for the Guranwala Arts Council (Rs 1 million), digitalisation and upgrade of library of Lahore Museum (Rs.9.07 million). A sum of Rs.21 million has been provided for the ongoing Rs 300 million Five Year Programme of Preservation and Restoration of Shalamar Garden.
Similarly, Rs 21.50 million have been earmarked for the preservation and reconstruction of the Lahore Fort, Rs.21.73 million for the construction of auditorium for the DG Khan Arts Council.
Sadly, this year’s budgetary allocations again tell an entirely different tale which does not correspondent to the ‘vision, policy and priorities’ of the Punjab government in reality. The statement pasted right on the forehead of the budgetary documents of the Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Department, under the heading of ‘Vision’ reads, “To create conducive environment for the promotion of language, art & culture and to provide adequate institutional framework for national solidarity.”
However, in the prevailing bleak atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, the recreational facilities and healthy physical and mental exercises are the only antidote to the menace of terrorism.
Moreover, the general public, which has been deprived of any new recreational facilities on the Punjab government’s part, is already facing hardships in the existing public parks and meagre recreational spots.
The contradiction is evident in the stated words and deeds of the Punjab government towards the mental and physical wellbeing of the people of the province.
Thanks: The News International Lahore
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