ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Friday approved 12 major development projects at a cost of Rs600 billion amid a narrow fiscal space and the removal of subsidies on energy for common people.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) at its meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, approved these projects mostly related to the energy and communication sector.
The meeting was attended by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar, Finance Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Taimur Jhagra and Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari.
The Ecnec approved Rs31.820bn for a 500kV Sialkot Substation project. The main objective of this project is to meet the additional load demand and voltage profile improvement of areas that fall under the jurisdiction of Gujranwala Electric Power supply Company.
The next transmission project was approved at a cost of Rs15.112bn for the addition and augmentation of 500kV and 220kV transformers at the existing grid stations for the removal of NTDC system constraints. The project is funded by Asian Development Bank.
Another project was approved at a cost of Rs17.106bn on the upgradation of the existing 220kV Vehari substation to 500kV. The project is funded by French Development Agency (AFD) to be completed in 41 months.
The meeting approved the construction of Chasma Right Bank Canal Project at a cost o1898f Rs189.606bn with 65pc finance contributions by the federal government and 35pc by the government of KP. The proposed canal is an off-taking from Head Race channel of Chasma Hydropower station at the Right Bank of Chasma Barrage.
The Ecnec approved Rs43.797bn for Naulong Multipurpose Dam project. The project will be 186 ft high and 2,996 ft long zoned earth-filled dam in district Jhal Magsi, Balochistan on Mula river with a total catchment area of 7,485 sq km. The project will result in flood mitigation, socioeconomic uplift and poverty reduction in the area.
The committee also approved Rs12.702bn for the Higher Education Commission’s project Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarship for Afghan National Students covering 4,500 scholarships.
The meeting approved Rs74.716bn for dualisation and rehabilitation of Karachi-Quetta-Chaman Road ( N-25 ) from Karachi-Kararo and Wadh- Khuzdar to be completed in 36 months. Also approved Rs67.671bn worth for dualization of Karao-Wadh section (83km) and Kuchlak-Chaman section (104km) of National Highway to be completed in 18 months.
Ecnec approved a project costing Rs17.783bn on the Improvement & Widening of Chitral–Booni–Mastuj–Shandur Road (153 km) to be completed in 36 months. The ECNEC also approved the revised Lowari Road Tunnel & access Roads Project at the total rationalized cost of Rs27.960bn. The Lowari tunnel is part of National Highway N-45.
The project is located between the townships of Dir and Drosh connecting the districts of Dir and Chitral. The project comprises two tunnels of lengths 8.5 km and 1.9 km, 04 bridges in a tunnel complex two portals and link access roads along with bridges.
The meeting also approved Locust Emergency and Food Security project at an updated cost of Rs26.014bn. The project will be implemented throughout Pakistan with an immediate focus on flood-affected areas which also includes enhancing the country’s preparedness for combating future locust and other invasive pest attacks.
ECNEC approved Punjab’s government project on Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation at a total cost of Rs74.757bn. The project will be implemented throughout Punjab in five years for Community –driven Improvement of Water Conveyance and Application, Promotion of Climate Smart High-Value Production, Regenerative Agriculture, Crop Diversification, Agriculture Value addition and Inclusive Access to Markets.
The meeting also approved instructions to carry out techno-economic feasibility studies in the light of comments of stakeholders.
Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2022