ISLAMABAD: The Planning Commission on Wednesday approved 15 development projects worth Rs16 billion, mostly for energy sector, higher education and infrastructure development.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal, who presided over the Central Working Development Party (CWDP) meeting, stated that public funds earmarked for development should be spent transparently.
“Any compromise on standard of work and delivery of services will not be tolerated,” said the minister and directed the project execution authorities to speed up work on projects so that loss due to “dharnas” can be neutralised.
Most of the share in the approved projects was for armed forces institutes and judiciary, including construction of Islamabad High Court.
The meeting cleared and recommended three projects for approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), headed by the finance minister.
These included Gilgit-Baltistan Livelihoods Development Project worth $30 million, establishment of 220KV sub-station at Chakdara Khyber Pukhtunkhwa at Rs4.917 billion and an amount of Rs1.477bn for Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project, construction of Bus Depot near Peshawar Morr.
For the higher education sector, an amount of Rs599.870m was approved for Kohat University of Science and Technology.
An amount of Rs591.694m was approved for Research Programmes at HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, Karachi, Rs983.187m for Khyber Medical University Peshawar; Rs2514.106m for establishment of NUST Headquarters and Hi-Tech Postgraduate Science and Technology Institutes at Islamabad and Rs661.029m for Faculty of Oral Health Sciences and Support Facilities at Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi.
While considering the projects presented by Higher Education Commission, Ahsan Iqbal said that the main priority of his government was education; therefore, the HEC has been allocated record budget in the current PSDP (2014-15).
The number of education projects approved by the Planning Commission was also unprecedented in the country’s history, he claimed.
In the energy sector, an amount of Rs1896.66m has been approved for extension and augmentation of 500/220 KV Rewat substation. The main objective of the project is replacement of obsolete and under rated equipments installed at various grid stations of NTDC system in order to provide transmission facilities to meet the power demand of Discos.
Moreover, an amount of Rs174.562m has been approved for establishment of Rebroadcast Station, Mian Channu. The station will provide TV coverage to 7800 square km and serve a population of 1.80m around District Khanewal.
In the physical planning and housing, Rs216.915m have been approved for construction of residential buildings for Force HQ GB Scouts and 113 Wing at Gilgit; an amount of Rs112.520m for construction of single and married accommodation for officers/JCOs, for HQ GB Scouts Gilgit; Rs2906.306m for construction of Islamabad High Court building and an amount of Rs1294.896m for construction of Federal Judicial Academy in the capital.
In the science and technology sector, an amount of Rs862.926m has been approved for strengthening of existing departments at Islamia University of Bahawalpur; Rs1330.083m for construction of office building for ministry of Science and Technology and its organisations.
The meeting also approved an amount of Rs911.280m for construction of small storage dams, delay action dams, retention weirs, flood diversion weirs and ISSO barriers in arid zone and an amount of Rs876.465m for construction of two recharge dams Malir Bakhshan and Ran Pathani in Lower Division Kohistan-II, Sindh. Both the projects will be implemented in the most vulnerable and drought-affected areas of Thar and Kohistan regions of Sindh.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2014