KARACHI, Jan 24 The completion of the ongoing uplift projects in Balochistan will not only help bring the province on a par with the rest of the country but will also boost employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the downtrodden province.

This was stated by Balochistan Chief Secretary K.B. Rind while talking to journalists after presiding over a high-level meeting here at the Balochistan House on Thursday.

Briefing the newsmen about the ongoing development programmes in the province, he said that around Rs153 billion had been spent on various projects under the public sector development programme while an additional Rs9 billion, generated through the province`s own resources, were allocated for more such schemes.Mr Rind said that 40 per cent of the work on the 500-km-long Kachchi canal had been completed. He said that after the completion of the project more than 800,000 acres would be cultivated.

The Balochistan chief secretary said that the government by the rationalisation of tariff through the CBR had successfully removed the hindrance in the reactivation of the ship-breaking industry at Gadani in the Lasbela district. Besides, for the revival of the industry the government had also offered other incentives to the investors, he said.

Mr Rind said that the policy of levying a high import duty, other taxes and high prices of old ships in the international market had adversely affected the ship-breaking industry in the past. Now the present government had adopted a rationalised approach by bringing down the tariff to a reasonable level, he said.

Besides Gadani, the government was also pursuing schemes to construct roads from Khuzdar to Shadadkot and from Moosakhel to Dera Ismail Khan, he informed the newsmen.

He said that in the meeting the ongoing development projects in Balochistan were reviewed and instructions were issued for the removal of any obstacles that could hamper the pace of work.

The meeting was informed about stages of installation of desalination plants at Pasni, Gadani, Jiwani and Ormara, which were being installed to overcome water shortage. Apart from these plants, equipment for a desalination plant in the industrial estate, Gwadar, had been shifted to its location for installation.

The cost of the plant would be Rs575.72 million to be shared by the federal and provincial governments, it was pointed out.

The Balochistan chief secretary said that during the last financial year 38 ships were dismantled, while the Balochistan Development Authority received Rs4.190 million.

Answering a question, Mr Rind said that out of 314 plots of 4 acres each at Gadani, 132 had been developed and at present 31 plots were available while the rest were in the private sector. He said a cement city was also being planned where 200 industrial units would be set up.

Earlier, the meeting was briefed by the managing director of Lasbela Industrial Estate that 17 industries had gone into production and 85 industries were at various stages of construction in the marble city.

The gold and copper development projects had been initiated with the cooperation of the Chilean and Canadian governments. In the Gwadar industrial estate 2,100 plots had already been allotted while 1,000 more plots were being developed in the estate. Besides, a modern hospital was being established in Gwadar in collaboration with the private sector and arrangements were being made to supply gas from Hub to Winder.

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