Irregularities revealed in Buzdar govt’s Bhakkar zoo project

A provincial watchdog has uncovered massive irregularities in one of the zoos established by the previous Punjab government led by Usman Buzdar.

The previous government approved around a dozen projects to establish new zoos and upgrade the existing ones across the province, the budget documents showed.

However, according to a report by Directorate General Monitoring and Evaluation (DGM&E), irregularities have surfaced in one of the zoos established in Punjab’s eastern city of Bhakkar.

The Punjab Planning & Development Board approved Rs228.50m for the project in 2021. The “mini zoo” was completed in June 2021 at a total cost of Rs217m.

The DGM&E found key installations missing from the zoo, while substandard equipment were also used in an apparent attempt to embezzle money.

According to the watchdog’s report, substandard cameras were procured and as a result, six out of eight CCTV camera installed on the premise were found to be nonfunctional. A 10KV generator at the cost of Rs745,000 was approved for the project but a 3KV generator, worth Rs39,000, was installed. The firefighting equipment procured at a cost of Rs400,000 were biting dust as they were never installed.

A tank to store water for animals was also found to be incomplete.

The DGME has submitted the report to Punjab Planning and Development Board and recommended action against the official involved in irregularities.