–Rs 104.7 million energy approved for Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project
–Asian Development Bank funded Rs 24.7 billion projects on Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor Development approved
ISLAMABAD: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) Thursday approved 17 development projects worth Rs 178.3 billion, and recommended six mega projects for further approval to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC).
Federal Minister and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Ahsan Iqbal chaired the meeting which was also attended by officials from different ministries and provincial governments.
The projects approved include schemes in transport and communications, energy, water resources, information technology, higher education, physical planning and housing, health and governance sectors.
The Planning Commission Forum approved Rs 104.7 million energy sector project ‘Hiring Consultancy Services for Third Party Validation of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project’.
The project will broadly include validation of actual cost incurred under various phases, assessment of the cost of various activities as per awarded contracts and evaluation, assessment of delays and cost overrun thereof, in order to determine a value for money. Minister Ahsan Iqbal instructed to prepare Terms of Reference (ToRs) to ensure realistic and clear evaluation of the project.
The CDWP meeting gave a go ahead to Right Bank Outfall Drain I, II and III worth Rs 17.5, Rs 61.9 and Rs 10.8 billion respectively. The scheme was recommended to ECNEC for further approval.
The project was referred by ECNEC to CDWP for revision and reconsideration. The RBOD-II project was reconsidered by the CDWP in March 2017 wherein the financing mechanism of flood component of RBOD-II was discussed in detail. Chair referred to the decision taken by CCI regarding National Flood Protection Plan wherein the Federal Government and Government of Sindh have been agreed on 50:50 cost sharing basis. After agreement by the Sindh Government to share the flood protection cost (Rs 7 billion), the project was approved by CDWP in its today’s meeting.
In transport and communication sector, CDWP recommended three mega projects of worth Rs 43.2 billion to ECNEC.
CDWP recommended CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation) Corridor Development Investment Program Tranche-I Projects to ECNEC for approval. The project is part of CAREC Corridor road network 5 and 6 which connects Pakistan up north to China and west through Afghanistan respectively. The Rs 24.7 billion Asian Development Bank financed project envisages improving 208 km of N-55 road in three sections, including Petaro to Sehwan Section dualization, 128 km, Ratodero to Shikarpur Section dualization, 44 km, including construction of 2 km bypass at Lakhi Town to avoid huge cost of land and impacts of resettlements and rehabilitation of existing dual carriageway from Darra Adam Khel to Peshawar Section, 36 km.
The second project approved includes construction of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Bridge over Indus with Guide Banks linking N-5 with N-55, including approach roads worth Rs 9.8 billion.
The revised project envisages construction of 1.2 km and 11.9 meters wide two lanes single carriageway bridge across River Indus, connecting district Ranjanpur (Mithankot), located on the National Highway (N-55) with district Rahim Yar Khan (Chachran), located on the National Highway (N-5).
The scope of work also includes construction of 7.3 m wide 30 km approach roads, two canal bridges, one railway overhead bridge, river training works, shifting of utilities, guide banks, embankments, raising of marginal bunds, drainage, erosion works along with allied structures and acquisition of land.
Minister PD&R Ahsan Iqbal questioned National Highways official as to why the project PC1 was brought for approval after five years as the Hydraulic Model Study for the project was conducted in 2012. He instructed for the constitution of a committee under member INFRA, Planning Commission, to conduct an enquiry and fix responsibility for such delay, saying no such negligence would be tolerated in future.
In transport and communication sector, CDWP recommended Rs 8.6 billion project of construction of Chitral-Garain Chashma-Doraha Pass Road (82.5 km) to ECNEC for further approval.
The project envisages construction, rehabilitation, improvement and widening of existing 82.5 km and 3.65-meter wide road to a width of 7.3 meters of Chitral-Garam Chashma to Doraha Pass. The scope of work also includes the elimination of major causeways to have all weather road, construction of 10 km new road on other side of Lutkho River for tourist activities with allied facilities and stretches. The project has been taken up as a result of the announcement of the prime minister during his recent visit to Chitral.
Ahsan Iqbal instructed to recommend this project to ECNEC with its original scope as the project could prove as a major linkage between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia, serving as an international trade route in future.
In physical planning and housing sector, CDWP approved two projects worth Rs 29.4 billion.
It referred the Punjab government’s project ‘Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Program’ worth Rs 27.2 billion to ECNEC. The project includes transforming the selected urban areas of Sailkot and Sahiwal into green, inclusive, resilient and comparative smart cities with improved livability supporting social and economic growth through improved municipal governance, integrated urban planning, improved service delivery, efficient local mobility and climate resilient infrastructure and introduction of IT for city service delivery improvement with the framework of SMART City. The chair recommended cost rationalisation for this project to be completed with the support of Asian Development Bank.
In this sector, CDWP has given go ahead to scaling up of Rural Sanitation through Saaf Suthro Sindh (SSS). This Sindh government project of worth Rs 2.2 billion rupees would be financed by Asian Development Bank.
CDWP further approved two projects in Information Technology sector worth Rs 2.7 billion. It includes E-Office (basic common applications) Replication at Divisions of Federal Government. The e-office or e-filing system comprising of six modules which were developed as pilot project at the ministry of information technology, including internal communications and movement of files, human resource management system, inventory and procurement management system, project management system, finance, planning and budgeting, internal portal.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal instructed to ensure CDWP meetings to be held through an e-office system in future.
Another IT sector project approved includes Pakistan Post-Reform Initiatives: Automation of Post Offices. The proposed project will facilitate Pakistan Post and improve public service at its business units. This will also provide value added services including Online Post Stores, Mobile Card Top-Ups through Mobile Companies to Pakistan Post clients in future. Automation of Pakistan Post will improve financial control, ensure accurate assessment of budget estimates, improve customer service, decrease the workload on Pakistan Post staff and extend additional facilities to the public. The project would be completed through Korean soft loan.
CDWP approved three projects in health sector worth Rs 1.2 billion which includes strengthening of health services Academy, Islamabad, the establishment of safe blood transfusion services project phase II, KP and establishment of medical device development centre (MDDC) at NUST. The MDDC project envisages of the development of medical devices, including stunts.
CDWP also approved a Rs 2.4 billion agriculture project promotion of olive cultivation on the commercial scale in Pakistan besides giving go ahead to Economic Affairs Division project ‘Strengthening of External Debt Management worth 64 million.
CDWP also approved three projects worth Rs 9.7 billion, including Award of Scholarship to Students from Gwadar, Science Talent Farming Scheme and mega project ‘Award of Allama Muhammad Iqbal 3000 Scholarships to Afghan Students’.
Under the Project Award of Scholarship to Students from Gwadar, students will be facilitated to get higher education at Pakistan’s Universities and learn the Chinese language abroad. Under the Project Award of Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarships to Afghan Students’, 3000 students would be facilitated to get higher education in Pakistan’s universities. The project was extended on the directives of the Prime Minister to facilitate Afghan students. The project also envisages short professional training to Afghan civil servants.