ISLAMABAD: Members of the federal cabinet on Thursday announced a Rs600 billion package for development projects in south Balochistan.
The announcement was made by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar along with Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal and Minister for Communication Murad Saeed.
The projects will be implemented in nine districts of southern Balochistan. The federal government will provide Rs540 million and the rest will be spent by the provincial government.
After implementation of the package, special initiatives will also be announced for north Balochistan, interior Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan, Mr Umar said, adding agriculture is a key source of income for southern locals, therefore, the government will build 16 dams to irrigate 150,000 acres.
The area, he said, is suitable for olive and date cultivation hence an olive processing unit and three date processing units will be established to help local farmers in boosting production of produce. Around 640,000 children will be educated through communication with teachers in urban cities.
He said the package will provide electricity to over 57pc of the area’s population; the figure stands at 12pc right now.
Under the Waseela-I-Taleem programme, 83,000 children will be given free education and the government will pay a monthly stipend to parents at Rs1,500 for boys and Rs2,000 for girls.
Mr Saeed said 3,083-kilometre-long road projects have been approved, work on which will be initiated during the current fiscal year, adding, in the past ten years 1325-km-long roads were constructed in the province.
The communications ministry will spend Rs250 billion on THE projects, he said, adding work has commenced on the western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), comprising Zhob-Kuchlak Road, Bisma - Khuzdar Highway, Rakhi-Gajj section of N-70, Yakmach-Kharan Road, Yarik-Sagu-Zhob section of N-50, Hoshab-Awaran-Khuzdar section of Ratto Dero-Gawadar Motorway and many others.
Ms Jalal said Prime Minister Imran Khan is the first premier in 50 years to visit south Balochistan after former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020