PAK govt perturbed by overdraft

Greater Kashmir

Asks for promised Rs 2 billion

Muzaffarabad, Feb 20: Pakistan administered Kashmir’s finance department, perturbed by the payment of mark-up on overdraft obtained by it to meet government’s fiscal requirements, has asked the Board of Revenue (BoR) to immediately remit more than Rs 2 billion in its possession to the state treasury, it was learnt here on Wednesday.
 Sources said the federal government had pledged to transfer Rs 4187.295 million out of President’s Relief Fund for Earthquake Victims to the PaK government so that the latter could acquire land for public sector buildings, including the university, in this part of the state.
 Of that amount, Rs 2102.271 million had been transferred to the BoR/Collector Land Acquisition Muzaffarabad in two unequal installments during the past two months but the amount had been kept out of the state treasury ever since in violation of rules, according to the finance department.
 In this regard, the finance department also quoted a rule that all sums of money which any state officer receives in his official capacity must immediately be deposited in full in the nearest treasury without any deduction whatsoever.
 The finance department, sources said, had recently pointed out that since it was affording an overdraft of Rs 556.754 million since Jan 22 and was also bearing mark-up on it at the prevailing rates, the amount transferred by the federal government should be remitted in the state treasury immediately.
 However, when contacted by this correspondent, a BoR official said the amount had already been deposited in the state treasury shortly after the cheques were received by them from the State Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (Serra).
 “I wonder why the finance department is ignorant of this matter and has written us a letter when the amount has already been deposited in the state treasury,” said the BoR official, while requesting anonymity.
 The official said that the first cheque of Rs 500 million in the middle of December last year for purchase of land for the PaK University whereas the second cheque of remaining amount was received on Jan 26.
 The deposit of second cheque in the state treasury, he said, was delayed by less than a week only because reports emerged that the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) was contemplating some changes in its plans regarding the acquisition of land.
 In view of the very indications, the higher authorities suggested that the amount in question should not be deposited in the state treasury because in the event of its return to the federal government its withdrawal from the state treasury would be very cumbersome, he added.
 However, he said as the Erra conveyed the BoR to go ahead with the process the amount was deposited in the treasury at the outset of Feb.