ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) here on Monday approved nine projects amounting to Rs.42.92 billion in the energy, education, health, transport and communications, irrigation and water sectors.
The ECNEC was held under the Chairmanship of the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Prime Minister’s Office this afternoon and was attended by Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Minister for Water and Power, Senator Pervez Rashid, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ms. Anusha Rehman Ahmed Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, representatives of all provinces and senior officials of the Federal and provincial governments.
The ECNEC approved two projects for Punjab amounting to Rs.24.84 billion, three projects for Balochistan amounting to Rs.8.70 billion, one project for Sindh amounting to Rs.2.08 billion and two projects for Khyber Pukhtunkhwa amounting to Rs.4.40 billion and one national scholarship programme amounting to Rs.2.90 billion.
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 Taunasa Hydel Project. While approving upgradation of girls primary schools in twelve districts of Sindh, ECNEC directed that province of Sindh to commits to ensure Rs.100 million as its share so that work on these project could be completed in the stipulated period.
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 Higher Education Commission (HEC) for Rs. 2.9 billion scholarship for Pakistani students, the ECNEC desired that the nomenclature of the programme should reflect the contribution of government of Pakistan and it should be renamed accordingly. The 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 households each comprising seven persons on average.
The meeting expressed the hope that this project if successful may be replicated by other provinces. While approving the Rs 3.00 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 rationalize the cost, the period and area of cultivation and report back to the 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 Rs.800 million would be in kind. The 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.
The ECNEC approved construction of 100 delay action dams in Balochistan Package-I to increase level of groundwater table by constructing 20 delay action dams at a cost of Rs 2.47 billion. It further approved construction of 100 delay action dams in Balochistan Package-II. This project will increase groundwater table through artificial recharge by constructing 26 dams costing Rs.4.65 billion 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 ECNEC approved Punjab Irrigation System Improvement Project (PISIP) PK-P59, which will cover three irrigation zones i.e. Bahawalpur, DG Khan and Faisalabad. The ECNEC also approved the Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment programme for Gujranwala, Pakpattan, Sheikhupura, Sialkot and Lahore districts in Punjab for construction of seven renewable energy projects. The other projects approved by ECNEC included Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Programme (REDSIP) worth Rs.13.29 billion, upgrading Primary Girls Schools into Elementary Schools in Rural Areas of Sindh worth Rs.2.08 billion, USAID Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Programme (MNBSP) phase-II worth Rs. 2.9 billion, Social Health Protection Initiative for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (kfw Assisted) worth Rs. 1.40 billion, Construction of Flyover at Sariab Phatak, Quetta worth Rs. 1.58 billion, Punjab Irrigation System Improvement Project (PISIP) PK-P 59 worth Rs. 11.53 billion.
The ECNEC also approved Gomal Zam Dam’s Command Area Development and on-farm Water Management for High Value and High Efficiency Agriculture Project (GZD-CADP) worth Rs. 3.00 billion. – Brecorder