KARACHI - Lyari Development Package (LDP) initiated by President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari had remained a dream for the inhabitants of Lyari as the authorities concerned had nullified good intentions through misuse of the allotted funds, The Nation learnt through a survey on Thursday. Lyari Town consists of 11 union councils, having a population of over a million. It is the strong hold of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) since its formation by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. As compared to the previous regimes, the issue of Lyari development has seriously been taken up by the current PPP government. First time in the history of Pakistan government had announced a major project for the betterment of Lyari. President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have announced special packages for the oldest town in the City. The special fund for LDP is being released to upgrade the dilapidated infrastructure of Lyari Town. When the special package was announced by the government, the inhabitants of the town were pleased to hear the news but the slow progress of the work has disappointed them. Criticising the Lyari Town administration as well as the authorities concerned, the residents of Lyari have alleged that the released funds are being misused, as it was done previously. They alleged that the contracts of the development projects were not distributed on merit but by taking bribe, personal relations and political influence. The area people also alleged that substandard material is being used for road carpeting and also claimed that nothing has been changed in the town despite huge funds allocated by the President. On the other hand, Town Nazim Lyari Mehmood Hashmi has rejected the allegation of the residents and said that for the first time, despite minimum resources of revenue department and without the financial support of City District Government Karachi (CDGK), Lyari Town administration had spent Rs90 million in one-year alone. He said that there was no major source of revenue generation, as 80 per cent of its revenue was spent on fuel and salaries of the employees. Despite the absence of adequate revenue, the town administration in his tenure has established 8 parks, he added. Hashmi claimed that the 60 per cent of development works under LDP has been completed while the second phase of development work would be completed as soon as the remaining funds were received. Giving details of the special grant allocated for the said project, he said that Rs800 million was issued by the federal government for upgrading the water and sewerage system, Rs324 million was issued for repairing roads and streets of Lyari and Rs200 million were released for street lights, grounds and parks. Funds were provided to renovate Mirza Adam Khan Road which was also a service road of Lyari Expressway. He said the President had directed to accelerate the work of renovation of the said road. He further said that the federal government had also allocated Rs700 million to construct a flyover in Lea Market through Karachi Port Trust (KPT). It is worth mentioning here that similar development schemes were announced by the previous PPP government, but the area people have claimed the funds were not utilised properly at that time also. Lyari Town is among the 18 towns of the City which are continuously neglected for the last many years while in other towns the development work is faster and better. The funds given to Lyari Town administration are being spent on fuel requirement and on paying salaries to the employees. The town has one of the largest commercial markets of the City including Lea Market, Timber Market, Juna Market, Mithadar and many others from where a large amount of revenue has been generated but it cant be utilised on the development work in the town. Source privy to the matter told The Nation that the town administration is depending heavily upon Sindh governments financial support to fulfil basic requirement of the town including fuel and the salaries of the employees. CDGK also seems reluctant to invest in the town as compared to other towns of the City. The town even could not manage its salaries requirement. Even the Lyari Expressway is not a part of Lyari. It may be noted here that when the new plan of City government was inaugurated in 2000, Lyari was not given status of the town. It was included in the old City area town with Saddar and other old areas. However after pressure from the Lyariites who staged protest demonstrations, the plan was revised and it was recognised as a separate town, and the metropolis was divided into 18 towns. Though Lyari was given the status of a town but it still dont have its own independent financial resources. Since the formation of current local bodies, Lyari Town has been ignored by the City government, as so far no major initiative has been taken for the development of the area and only 3 main roads were repaired by the previous City government. Meanwhile, the current City government, few years ago, has inaugurated the main water supply scheme from Hub Dam to Lyari Town. But after few months, the connection was diverted out of Lyari. Mafias having political patronage have diverted the connection for the commercial purpose.