President reviews progress on projects in Sindh, Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: In three consecutive presentations in the Presidency on Friday, President Asif Ali Zardari reviewed progress on development projects in Sindh and Balochistan.The projects include small dams, rehabilitation of embankments in flood affected areas and gas extraction in the two provinces besides a review of the progress on the new city Zulfiqarabad in Sindh.The presentation given by relevant experts and senior officials was attended by Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, Federal Ministers Syed Naveed Qamar, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Nadeem-ul-Haq, provincial ministers and senior federal and provincial government officials.

Briefing media, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said the President advised the Ministry of Water & Power and the provincial governments to speed up work on construction of new dams in order to not only meet the growing requirements of irrigation and drinking water but also to empower women of the area by free distribution of state land in command areas of the newly constructed dams.

The small and medium dams, the progress of which was reviewed in the meeting include Darawat and Nai Gaj in Sindh and Naulong, Winder and Hingol dam projects in Balochistan. The briefing on dams was given by Chairman WAPDA Shakil Durrani.

In the presentation on utilization of gas from the new discoveries and abandoned gas fields, the President advised the federal government to ensure provision of gas to the surrounding villages within five kilometers of all gas fields.

Progress on an earlier directive for reactivation of abandoned gas fields in Sindh to improve much needed energy supplies was also reviewed.

Minister for Petroleum Syed Naveed Qamar who gave the presentation highlighted the issues involved and the proposed mechanics for reactivating abandoned gas fields. It may be recalled that during President’s meeting in Karachi early this month the President had directed that a comprehensive plan be prepared for extraction of oil and gas from abandoned wells as well as for setting up captive power plants for selected industrial zones and areas.

In the presentation on the progress made on Zulfiqarabad city project given by the Advisor to CM Sindh Fazlur Rehman, the meeting was informed that 1.3 million acres of land had been made available in four Talukas for the new city.

The President advised that international bids be floated urgently and bidders be selected for the master planning of the new city.

The international bidder thus selected should also be tasked to propose the site for first phase of new city for development, he said. The President remarked that early implementation of the proposed city project was necessary to reduce congestion in the main cities of Sindh.

The President directed that the bids for  master plan of the city should emphasize adoption of the most modern concepts of town planning.

Provisions for industrial, electronic and science parks to boost employment, skills of people and provide economic opportunities should be prominent feature of the new city, the President said.

He said the city should serve as a model for further development of similar projects and must be equipped with all modern amenities.

The President emphasized upon the need for exploitation of resources of the private sector to maximum possible extent and their active involvement in the project.

He said the project should manifest the success of public-private partnership and should serve as role model. The President also reiterated his call for following best international practices for the implementation of the project.
The President also advised to expedite completion of all 76 schemes for rehabilitation and restoration of flood protection bunds and asked the federal government that provision of requisite funds must be accorded priority.
The President said that all developmental projects should be monitored through satellite imagery so as to ensure their expeditious completion and transparency.

He said all projects should be completed within stipulated time and the government has already offered incentives to the builders and constructors who finish their work before the stipulated time.

The President said involvement of the local population in all the developmental projects must be ensured by the administration to not only to provide them economic opportunities but also to inculcate in them a sense of owning their projects – APP