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Ecnec approves nine projects of Rs43 bn

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) that met here on Monday with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, accorded approval to nine projects valued at Rs42.92 billion in the energy, education, health, transport and communications, irrigation and water sectors.

The meeting approved two projects for Punjab amounting to Rs24.84 billion, three projects for Balochistan valuing to Rs8.70 billion, one project for Sindh of worth Rs2.08 billion and two projects for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa costing Rs4.40 billion and one national scholarship programme of Rs2.90 billion.

Keeping in view the fast deleting underground water table in Balochistan, the meeting has decided to construct 46 delay action dams in phase-1 and phase –II under the main project of construction of 100 delay action dam. Ecnec approved this project of construction of 100 delay action dams in Balochistan package-I which is of paramount importance.

Under package-I, 20 delay action dams that will help increase the ground water table in the province.According to the official who was part of the meeting, Ecnec also approved construction of 100 Delay Action Dams in Balochistan Package-II. This project will increase groundwater table through artificial recharge by constructing 26 dams to harvest 66,075 acre-ft of rain water. “This will bring 24,000 acres of fertile cultivable land under cultivation and protect down seam area from flashy floods.”

The meeting was told that the Government of Punjab has started work on two hydel power projects while work on a project of 84MW was inaugurated recently by the private sector. The meeting was also told that Government of Punjab will soon start work on 125MW Taunsa Hydel Project.

While approving up-gradation of girls’ primary schools in twelve districts of Sindh, Ecnec directed that province of Sindh to commits to ensure Rs100 million as its share so that work on these project could be completed in the stipulated period. The Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal’s observation that teachers in these schools be recruited on merit was also noted.

While approving a proposal of the HEC for Rs2.9 billion scholarship for Pakistani students, Ecnec desired that the nomenclature of the programme should reflect the contribution of government of Pakistan, and it should be renamed accordingly.

Ecnec appreciated the lead taken by the KP Government for initiating a social health insurance programme aimed at medical insurance which will provide health coverage to 21% of the poorest house holds each comprising 7 persons on average. The meeting expressed the hope that this project if successful may be replicated by other provinces.

While approving the Rs3.00 billion Gomal Zam Dam’s command area development and on-farm water management for High Value and High Efficiency Agriculture Project in principle.

Ecnec directed the Planning and Development Division to rationalise the cost, the period and area of cultivation and report back to Ecnec in its next meeting. The meeting was told that 73% of the cost of the project would be borne by USAID while the local contribution of Rs800 million would be in kind.

Ecnec approved construction of Flyover at Sariab Phatak, Quetta which envisages construction of 483.55m long and 20.10m wide flyover with 9.3m wide dual carriageway crossing the railway track and will connect Zarghoon Road with Sariab Road in Quetta city with allied facilities. The scope of work also includes construction of additional lanes with total length of 250m (6.1m wide) on Sariab Road and 381m (9.3m wide) on Zarghoon road.

Ecnec approved Punjab Irrigation System Improvement Project (PISIP) PK-P59 which will cover three irrigation zones i.e. Bahawalpur, DG Khan and Faisalabad.Ecnec also approved the Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment programme for Gujranwala, Pakpattan, Sheikhupura, Sialkot and Lahore districts of Punjab for construction of seven renewable energy projects.

The projects approved by Ecnec in its meeting held here on Monday include Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Programme (REDSIP) worth Rs13.29 billion, upgrading primary girls’ schools into elementary schools in rural areas of Sindh worth Rs2.08 billion, USAID merit and needs based scholarship programme (MNBSP) phase-II worth Rs2.9 billion, social health protection initiative for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (kfw Assisted) worth Rs1.40 billion, construction of flyover at Sariab Phatak, Quetta, worth Rs1.58 billion, Punjab Irrigation System Improvement Project (PISIP) PK-P 59 worth Rs11.53 billion, Construction of 100 Delay Action Dams in Balochistan Package-I (20 dams) worth Rs2.47 billion, construction of 100 delay action dams in Balochistan Package-II (26 dams) worth Rs4.65 billion and Gomal Zam Dam’s Command Area Development and on-farm Water Management for High Value and High Efficiency Agriculture Project (GZD-CADP) worth Rs3.00.

Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Minister for Water and Power; Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage; Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms; Anusha Rehman Ahmed Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications and representatives of all provinces and senior officials of the federal and provincial governments attended the meeting.

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