ISLAMABAD: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) approved on Wednesday eight development projects having an estimated cost of Rs38.5 billion, including a foreign exchange component of Rs20.8bn.
Presided over by Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal, the CDWP meeting also expressed concern over poor education indicators in rural Sindh and asked the provincial government to develop creative projects to increase the sector’s outreach in rural areas.
The meeting approved one project each for agriculture, education, environment, physical planning & housing and two each for transport & communications and water sectors.
Explaining the government’s strategy, the minister said that all public sector projects should be designed keeping in mind relevant linkages.
Mr Iqbal said the prime minister had issued instructions to adopt self-reliant policies and avoid grants which were non-productive. He said that executing agencies should create strong linkages between the government, academia and private sector.
He said that imparting quality education to students was vital to the country’s development and as a nation “we need to invest heavily in education to meet the Millennium Development Goals commitment by increasing enrolment in schools”. The rural areas suffered from a lack of resources and there was a dearth of science teachers there.
He praised the Punjab government for inducting 20,000 science teachers to overcome the deficiencies and urged the Sindh government to also hire the services of science teachers for rural areas.
Mr Iqbal directed officials in Sindh to come up with projects that could help improve education indicators of their province.
The meeting approved in principle the Rs2.5bn Specialised Medium Rangers Forecasting Centre project of the aviation division but also directed the authorities concerned to rationalise the cost of the project and modify its scope. The project has a foreign exchange component of Rs2.4bn.
The project aims at modernising and upgrading forecasting and dissemination systems to effectively reduce impact of natural disasters by using advanced technologies.
A Rs18bn project for rehabilitation and upgrading of Trimmu Barrage and Panjnad Headworks was approved, having a foreign exchange component of Rs3.5bn. The project is part of the Punjab Irrigation Agriculture Investment Programme of the Punjab government.
The meeting also approved construction of an Expressway on East Bay of Gwadar Port project. The cost of the project is Rs14.8bn and has a foreign exchange component of Rs13.8bn.
It involves construction of a four-lane expressway with an embankment for six lanes connecting Gwadar Port with Makran Coastal Highway as well as the free zone and future container terminals.
The project was approved in principle but was termed subject to cost rationalisation.
A project for upgrading of mechanical system for sewerage and drainage services in Gujranwala, costing Rs1.1bn and having a foreign exchange component of Rs1bn, was also approved. It is to be built with the help of the Japanese government to improve service delivery of Wasa, Gujranwala.
The project will also involve strategy for treatment of wastewater to check contamination and control damage to the environment.
The Capacity Development of Agriculture Extension Services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa project costing Rs120 million, with foreign aid of Rs115m, was also approved. The project aims at providing appropriate knowledge and skills to staff of the Agricultural Extension Department of the provincial government.
A comprehensive feasibility study for Up-gradation and Rehabilitation of Mainline (ML-I) and New Dry Port at Havelian, Haripur, project costing Rs478.3m was approved by the meeting. Under the project, the government will carry out feasibility study of existing Main-Line (ML-I) from Karachi to Peshawar (1,872km) to ascertain the condition of existing infrastructure.
Approval was also given to construction of J-Head Spur at RD-4000 for Fazil Shah Flood Bund proposed by the ministry of water and power.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2014