ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Wednesday approved Rs538.5 billion worth of 10 development projects for implementation, including the Rs165 billion Orange Line Metro Train Project for Lahore.
Chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the Ecnec also cleared a package of five projects for Pakistan Railways (PR) involving a total estimated cost of Rs122.95 billion. PR would will bear the entire cost from its next year’s development programme funds.
The overall project cost would also include a Rs257.5 billion foreign exchange component.
Officials said the Punjab government had already signed an agreement with China, during the recent visit by President Xi Jinping, for the construction of a 27.1km dedicated signal free corridor for the metro train mass transit system in Lahore. The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) would act as the executing agency for the mega project, which is slated to be completed in 27 months.
The track will be capable of accommodating two trains running simultaneously on both sides with a capacity of transporting 30,000 passengers per hour. The Punjab government would finance the project from its own resources with a loan from the Chinese government’s China EXIM Bank, but without federal government support.
The project is expected to involve a substantial subsidy from the provincial government to meet its operational costs as its own revenue would not be sufficient. The track would start from Ali Town, passing through Thokar Niaz Baig, Bund Road, Chauburji, Anarkali, Lakshmi Chowk, Railway Station, University of Engineering and Technology, Shalimar Gardens, Islam Park and will terminate at Dera Gujran.
The meeting also approved a Rs9.102 billion project of the Ministry of National Health Services – the PM’s National Health Insurance Programme. A large number of families from the poorest segments in 23 districts of all the provinces will be covered under this health insurance scheme.
An estimated premium of Rs2,000 per family annually is proposed for secondary care with addition of Rs500 per family annually for priority treatment. A secondary hospitalisation component including maternity benefits and day care admissions will be limited to Rs50,000 per family per year, provided within the provincial Annual Development Plans except in Fata, Gilgit, AJK and ICT and is proposed to be provided through the federal PSDP.
Another Rs26.942 project of the National Health Services Ministry was also approved for extension of Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI), Control of Diarrhoea Diseases (CDD) for another year. This will also involve a foreign exchange component of Rs14.195 billion. The project aims at promoting prevention of nine diseases (vaccine preventable diseases) and will benefit all regions of the country including Fata, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Ecnec also approved, in principle, two projects proposed by the Ministry of Water and Power for combined cycle power plants of 1,000-1,200MW each; one at Haveli Bahadur Shah, District Jhang at an estimated cost of Rs90.032 billion including foreign investment of Rs76.255 billion; and, the second at Balloki, District Kasur at an estimated cost of Rs88.054.09 million including foreign investment of Rs76.255 billion.
The meeting also approved a Rs13 billion project for the evacuation of power from 1,320 MW imported coal-based Power Plant at Bin Qasim Karachi. This also included a foreign exchange component of Rs7.022 billion. The project will be implemented in four years by construction of 500 kv transmission, 180 km line from the proposed power plant to Matiari.
The Ecnec also approved a project of Sindh’s Health Department for establishment of Child Health Care Institute, Sukkur at a total cost of Rs4.81 billion including FEC of Rs4.646 billion. The project completed in 36 months.
Another project Necessary Facilities of Fresh Water Treatment, Water Supply & Distribution Gwadar, a project of Pakistan China Economic Corridor was also approved at a total cost of Rs11.204 billion. It is expected to be completes in 36 months.
The meeting also approved a proposal of the Ministry of Communication for construction of Amri Kazi Ahmad bridge over River Indus (between Hyderabad Bypass & Dadu Moro Bridge) connecting N-5 with N-55 at total cost of Rs7.2 billion. The project would be financed through the federal public sector development programme.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2015