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UK may increase support for uplift plan

January 13, 2004

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PESHAWAR, Jan 12: British Secretary of State for International Development Hillary Benn hinted at increase in the overall support for community infrastructure development projects in the country in future.

He was talking to reporters after inspecting community uplift projects at Sadiqabad in the Daag union council of Peshawar district here on Monday. Mr Benn said the British government would continue and increase the overall support to community infrastructure development schemes in the country.

The implementation of development schemes with the community participation, he said, enabled the people to make decisions about their needs at the local level.

He said he was much impressed with the projects carried out by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) with the financial assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Mark Lyall Grant, SRSP Chairperson Ms Munawar Humayun, SRSP Chief Executive Masoodul Mulk, local government representatives, officials and a large number of residents of the surrounding villages were present on the occasion.

Earlier, Mr Benn and Mr Grant inspected a community water supply scheme carried out by the SRSP with financial assistance from the DFID. Mr Benn said the projects undertaken on the community participation basis brought a real improvement in the provision of social sector services in the rural areas.

He assured that the British government would continue and increase its overall support to infrastructure development schemes. On the occasion, Kaneeza union council Nazim Israrullah briefed the delegation about the projects, which included water supply scheme, street pavement and sanitation.

The delegation was informed that the presence of Afghan refugees in the outskirts of Peshawar adversely affected and overburdened the social services sector.

Later, the British delegation also attended a programme organized by the health department's provincial programme implementation unit on family planning and primary health care.

Mr Benn said the Lady Health Workers programme initiated by the government was clearly outstanding. On the occasion, he also talked to the lady health workers and inquired about the problems they faced during the fieldwork in the rural parts of the province.