ISLAMABAD: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on Monday cleared a total of five projects, including a major infrastructure initiative worth Rs130 billion, for development of a series of roads overwhelmingly in south Punjab.
The meeting presided over by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan formally approved three development projects with a cumulative cost of Rs9.168bn and recommended two projects worth Rs130bn to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for approval.
A project namely Strengthening the Existing Capacity of National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad worth Rs450 million was approved for effective response against Covid-19 pandemic. The revised project presented by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) is to be financed through the support of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group funds through National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) under Grant Implementation Agreement.
The CDWP took up four projects related to transport and communications and approved two of them and referred another to Ecnec for approval and sent back yet another for improvement.
The meeting referred Punjab Arterial Roads Improvement Programme (PARIP) worth Rs129.944bn to Ecnec for approval. The project is to be spread over Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Layyah, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Vehari, Okara, Pakpattan and Sahiwal in Punjab. The executing agency of the project is Planning and Development Board, Punjab.
About Rs14.164bn funding would be arranged by the Punjab government. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would provide Rs64.972bn while Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) would finance the remaining part of Rs50.808bn. The project involves construction of 535 km section of a dual carriageway highway between various cities in Punjab.
The project would involve rehabilitation of existing carriageway as well as new construction of a second carriageway within the ‘Right of Way’ available and acquired where needed. It is meant to improve the transportation system through upgradation and dualisation of the highway network. The scope of works includes the construction of bridges, culverts, retaining walls, drainage works, roadside facilities, and allied works.
The CDWP approved Construction of Road between Sibi-Talli (20-km) and Kohlu-Rakhni (80-km) worth Rs6.067bn. It observed that the original project was approved during last fiscal year at an estimated cost of Rs4bn. However, the scope of the project had been raised and approved at 50:50 cost-sharing between the federal and the provincial governments. The additional chief secretary development of Balochistan was directed to facilitate the department of C&W in the capacity building.
Another project Revised PC-1 for Rehabilitation of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Rail Connectivity Project (phase-1) worth Rs2.652bn was approved by the CDWP. It envisaged rehabilitation of existing track of critical section of Pakistan Railway from KPT to Karachi Cantt and provision of new track for connectivity with Mainline (ML-1).
The existing track on the section has outlived its designed life. The rails laid are 75R, 90 BSS, and 90R types that are overaged and of obsolete type and sleepers are mostly wooden and steel trough, which is mostly unserviceable.
Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2021