Senate body seeks report on delay in Nai Gaj Dam project, price escalation


ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Planning Development and Reforms on Tuesday expressed its concerns over the unnecessary delay in completion of Nai Gaj Dam project and cost escalation from Rs16 billion to Rs46 billion.

It also expressed its annoyance over the repeated changes in the designs of the project that seemed to be the major cause of delay in project completion and escalation of cost.

The committee, which met with Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani in the chair, also directed the Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit a detailed report of the causes that led to delay and rise in the cost of the project before the committee within a week’s time.

The chairman stressed the need for setting priority projects looking into resource availability before initiating developmental projects and also asked for setting up a proper pattern for financing these projects.

Meanwhile, Secretary Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms Zafar Hassan informed the meeting that demands for development projects from the provinces was increasing, adding that forward liabilities were also huge.

He said that lack of resources enhanced the project cost and also caused delay in completion. However, he said that the government was formulating policies to ensure completion of all social sector developmental projects with-in the stipulated time-frame to avoid delay in price escalation.

The senior officials of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) informed the committee that HEC had awarded 14,175 scholarships under its ongoing programs for financial year 2019-20.

The committee was also informed that 165, 088 students paid back their fees under Prime Minister Fee Reimbursement Scheme. Besides, 3,000 scholarships were also provided to students from Afghanistan during the last year, adding that 3,000 more scholarships would be provided this year.

The committee also recommended initiating a special scholarship program for female students from the less developed parts of the country, particularly from Balochistan in order to promote education in these areas.