ISLAMABAD, Aug 16: With an eye on the general election, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved on Thursday a record Rs662 billion for 45 projects.
A meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh, approved Rs287 billion for the loss-making Pakistan Railways, including a Japan-funded Rs246 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project.
Describing the KCR as a modern commuter system, the meeting noted that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) had offered lower interest rates than other lenders.
The project envisages revival of the KCR and proposes dualisation of its 29.41km loop and provision of two tracks spanning 13.69km along the Pakistan Railways’ main line from City Station to Drigh Road Station. The proposed length of the route is 43.12km and the track length 86.24km.
The meeting directed the Sindh government to extend cooperation to the railways ministry for early execution of the project.
The council approved another four projects for Railways—Rs19.4 billion for procurement of 50 diesel electric locomotives, procurement of 500 high-capacity bogies and 40 high-speed power vans at a cost of Rs12 billion, Rs5 billion for special repairs of 150 diesel electric locomotives and Rs4 billion for mechanisation of track maintenance pilot project.
THREE DAMS: The meeting approved Rs53 billion for construction of three small dams that would irrigate agricultural land and produce about 20MW of electricity.
The projects are the Naulong dam (Rs18 billion), Nai Gaj dam (Rs26.24 billion) and Darwat dam (Rs9.3 billion).
The council approved Rs12.98 billion for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa road development sector and sub-regional connectivity project and Rs4 billion for an eight-kilometre motorway between flyovers at Double Phattak and Chowk Nag Shah in Multan.
An amount of Rs36 billion was sanctioned for the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project and Rs3.4 billion for the Bazai Irrigation Scheme in KP, Rs2.6 billion for the remodelling of S.M.B link canal and enhancing capacity of Mailsi siphon.
The Ecnec cleared Rs8.9 billion for the Japan-funded Sindh Rural Roads Construction Project (phase-II).
Another strategic project of 24km realignment of Karakoram Highway (KKH) at Barrier Lake, Attabad (Gilgit-Baltistan), was approved at a cost of Rs26.5.About Rs2.7 billion was approved for setting up a medical college in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.
The meeting sanctioned Rs15 billion for design and construction of an 84MW hydropower project in Matiltan, KP, and construction of Rs12.2 billion for a 69MW hydropower project at Lawi near Chitral.
In addition, Rs22 billion was approved for connecting the Thar coal-based 1200MW Engro Power Plant with the national grid.
A plan for extension of Tarbela dam, the fourth such project, got the council’s nod. The Rs84 billion project will inject 1400 megawatt from the dam’s existing storage.
The meeting approved Rs30 billion for the National Gas Efficiency Project for Sui gas companies, which would be funded by the World Bank.
The council approved Rs14.4 billion for the Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP).
It discussed the Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical College, Mirpur (phase-II) at a cost of Rs3.1 billion in AJK and formed a committee comprising the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission and representatives from the ministry of finance to re-examine its operational cost.
The committee approved design study of construction of Benazir Bridge across River Sutlej linking Chishtian with Burewala at a cost of Rs1.25 billion. However, the cost of the project will be revised.
The meeting discussed channelisation of Deg Nullah from the Muridke-Narowal road to outfall and accepted the Punjab chief secretary’s request that the project should be funded by the Federal Flood Commission.