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ISLAMABAD, Nov 30: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved 38 development projects costing Rs244.5 billion with foreign exchange component of Rs68bn. The projects have been approved in the sectors of energy, water resources, transport, education, governance, science and technology, social welfare and agriculture.

A meeting of the CDWP, presided over by Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on Friday evening, approved a proposal of the Planning Commission to carry out a feasibility study for a railway track along the Karakoram Highway between Havelian and Kashgar as part of the Pak-China Economic Corridor.

According to a press release issued on Saturday, the meeting also approved the feasibility study for a rail track to connect Gwadar with Karachi through 700km and a rail track from Gwadar to Bisma and Bisma to Jacobabad via Khuzdar, measuring 1,048km. Bisma town is situated at a place where boundaries of Kalat, Kharan and Makran meet.

It is second time that the feasibility of Havelian-Khunjerab railway line has been approved.

In 2007-08, a consortium of consultants from Austria, Germany and Pakistan was engaged by the government to carry out the study for construction of a single-track railway line between Khunjerab and Havelian.

ENERGY PLANS: In the energy sector, the CDWP approved Harpo hydropower project costing Rs11.6bn, Dubair Khawar hydropower project worth Rs27bn; energy loss reduction project of Pesco costing Rs7.8bn; power distribution expansion of Pesco at a cost of Rs17bn; land acquisition project for Dasu hydropower project, establishment of Hydro Power Training Institute at Mangla costing Rs568 million; refurbishment and up-gradation of generating units of Mangla Power station to enhance its capacity from 1,000MW to 1,310MW at a cost of Rs50bn; power distribution enhancement investment programme of Lesco, Gepco, Pesco, Iesco, Fesco and Hesco costing over $160m; construction of a 35MW Nagdar hydropower project at a cost of Rs7bn; and construction of Dowarian hydropower project in Neelum Valley.

DAMS: In the area of water resources, the meeting approved projects for carrying out a feasibility study for the construction of small dams in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a cost of Rs128m; Chao Tangi small dam in South Waziristan costing Rs798m; construction of Palai and Kundal dam in district Charsadda costing Rs999m; flood protection on Chenab River at Muzaffargarh-Khangarh bund at a cost of Rs395m; feasibility study for construction of Bhimber dam project in Azad Kashmir at a cost of Rs86m; construction of Shadi Kaur storage dam at a cost of over Rs6m; revised project of Kachhi Canal worth Rs57bn to irrigate 100,000 acres of land in Dera Bugti.

The CDWP approved projects for establishment of Federal Government College of Home Economics and Management Sciences and improving human development indicators and literacy through the NCHD at a cost of Rs13bn.

It approved a project to improve agriculture growth in Sindh at a cost of Rs9bn and a nutrition support project for the province at Rs4bn.

The meeting approved a feasibility study for 1,160km Karachi-Lahore motorway, and N-5 Muzaffarabad-Mirpur-Mangla expressway and a project costing Rs400m to upgrade the Larkana Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy.

A project costing Rs880m for construction of the second phase of Abbas Institute of Medical Science in Muzaffarabad was approved in addition to three projects for construction of barracks for Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts.

Mr Ahsan Iqbal said that all proposals should be put up on a website for scrutiny by experts and citizens to ensure transparency. He asked the ministry of water and power and the Wapda chairman to set up an expert advisory group for helping provinces to prepare small hydropower projects.

He asked the ministry of water and power to expedite the investment policy for the private sector to invest in small hydropower projects as the availability of funds in the public sector was limited and constrained.

“We must promote the private sector in the energy sector and if there is pro-private sector policy, we may harness more than 30,000MW by developing small dams in Northern Areas.”

He ordered the NCHD to develop a key performance indicator to achieve universal primary education and said achieving 100 per cent literacy was critical for the country’s future. “We have ignored human and social capital in the past and today are paying a heavy price for this mistake. Knowledge, energy and infrastructure sectors are critical for our future development.”

The minister asked the ministry of planning, development and reforms to ensure discipline in project management.

A committee was formed with representatives of all provinces, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan to make recommendations on eliminating wastage in development projects.