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ISLAMABAD: The Cen­tral Development Working Party (CDWP) cleared on Tuesday 18 projects worth Rs154 billion, including a key transmission line to distribute 2,200MW electricity from Karachi’s two upcoming nuclear power stations.

A meeting of the CDWP, presided over by Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal and attended by representatives of the provincial governments and the federal ministries concerned, cleared technical and financial parameters of the transmission line for evacuation of electricity from the two nuclear coastal power plants (K-2 and K-3) of 1,100MW each being set up at Paradise Point, about 11 kilometres from the city (Karachi) centre.

It requested the Execu­tive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) to approve the transmission line with an estimated cost of Rs5.6bn, including a foreign exch­ange component (FEC) of Rs2.6bn. The two nuclear plants are planned to be completed by 2022-23 under a government-to-government deal with China.

Overall, the meeting approved 11 projects of Rs20bn.

Under financial rules, the CDWP has the powers to approve development projects of cost not exceeding Rs3bn. For projects of higher cost estimates, the CDWP can only scrutinise their parameters and recommend Ecnec to approve their cost.

As such, the meeting recommended seven projects with a cumulative cost estimate of Rs134bn for approval by Ecnec.

Besides the transmission line for the two nuclear plants, the CDWP also cleared a project for evacuation of electricity from 1,320MW (2x660MW) coal-based power projects of Sino-Sindh Resources and Sindh Engro Coal Limited (SSRL/SECL) in Thar at a cost of Rs23bn, including FEC of Rs12bn. The cost will be approved by Ecnec.

The meeting also approved evacuation of 350MW electricity from Siddiqsons coal-fired energy power plant near Port Qasim at a cost of Rs2.9bn, with FEC of Rs1.4bn.

The three transmission line projects aimed at transmitting electricity to the national grid from the power plants are currently at different stages of implementation.

The CDWP approved Rs145 million for rehabilitation of the damaged 66kV grid station at Ghiljo, Orakzai Agency, and construction of a 132kV SDT transmission line for making interconnecting arrangement between 132kV Kharan grid station and Mall station grid (82km) at a cost of Rs650m.

The meeting referred to Ecnec for approval a 500kV substation in Chakwal worth Rs7bn, with FEC of Rs3.8bn, and the revised Koto hydropower project located in Lower Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, worth Rs14bn, with FEC of Rs7bn.

Transport and communication

The CDWP approved the revised project of improvement and construction of Jalkhad-Chilas road at a cost of Rs7.8bn, feasibility study of upgradation of the existing railway line from Rohri to Koti-Taftan via Quetta, including realignment of Sibi-Spezand section (1,022km), and feasibility study of rail link from Quetta to Kotla Jam (538km) (update of the existing feasibility study) worth Rs292m. The project will help connect Quetta with Peshawar through rail.

The meeting also approved upgrade of the VHF communication system for operational staff at a cost of Rs737 million, as well as upgradae of a road from RCC Konodas Bridge to Naltar Airbase Camp via Nomal (47km) worth Rs2.7bn.

The CDWP approved the Saaf Suthro Sindh (SSS) programme — scaling up of rural sanitation — worth Rs1.5bn. It cleared the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement (PIPIP) project worth Rs80bn, with FEC of Rs48bn.

Higher education and IT

The CDWP approved a project for providing academic and research facilities at Air University, Islamabad, at a cost of Rs1.6bn, with FEC of Rs269m, with a directive to rationalise its scope.

In information technology, the meeting approved a project worth Rs3.3bn for providing seamless GSM coverage, along the Karakoram Highway in support of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and upgrade of the GSM network for Gilgit-Baltistan phase-II.

The CDWP approved Rs200m for institutional strengthening and efficiency enhancement of the Planning Commission. It gave clearance to two projects — revival of wildlife resources worth Rs1.1bn and Zoological Survey of Pakistan worth Rs99m — with a directive to review and rationalise their costs.

The meeting approved two position papers — construction of 100 dams in Dubandal, Gulistan, Qila Abdullah and Chaman areas at cost of Rs1.5bn and Pehur canal extension in Swabi worth Rs10bn.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2017