Minister reviews progress of South Balochistan uplift plan

Web DeskWeb Editor

03rd Sep, 2021. 11:44 am

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a progress review meeting on the South Balochistan development plan and expressed satisfaction over the progress of the projects.

In line with the vision of the prime minister for the development of underprivileged and less-developed areas in Pakistan, concerted efforts have led to the successful completion of the Phase-I of the South Balochistan Development Package (SBDP); culminating in the listing of approved projects in the PSDP 2021/22 and allocation of funds.

To ensure implementation of approved projects at an accelerated pace, Planning Minister Asad Umar reviewed the progress on the Phase-II of the Southern Balochistan development plan and showed satisfaction with the progress.

Reviewing the progress of the new projects to be funded through the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the minister said that 90 per cent, or Rs234.315 billion, projects have been approved and included in the federal PSDP 2021/22, of which Rs25.721 billion have been allocated in the current fiscal year.

Likewise, for various approved and ongoing PSDP projects, amounting to Rs274.689 billion, the allocation for the current fiscal year amounted to Rs29.160 billion.

Reviewing the status of PC-I/II and the corresponding financials, the planning minister said the current portfolio of Balochistan in the federal PSDP has a thin spreading of funds and desired that a priority list of projects should be prepared so that fast-moving and strategic projects could be adequately funded for timely completion.

He also reviewed the progress on priority South Balochistan Development Programme (SBDP) projects.

The meeting was informed that the National Highway Authority (NHA) has commenced procurement for three projects, including construction of Hoshab–Awaran–Khuzdar Section of M-8 [Awaran–Naal 168km] at a cost of Rs32 billion; Hoshab-Awaran Section of M-8 (146km) at a cost of Rs38 billion; and Rehabilitation and Upgradation of Awaran–Jhaljao Road (54.8km) at an estimated cost of Rs6.9 billion.

It was also informed that 7 x road sector projects, amounting to Rs24.39 billion and 7 x water dams’ projects, amounting to Rs48.68 billion have been approved/included in the PSDP 2021/22 and their award process is being expedited.

To address the water shortages, especially in Gwadar, funds have been approved for connecting the Shadi-Kaur Dam with the Gwadar pipeline.

Additionally, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has accorded approval for the installation of a 1.2MGD desalination plant at Gwadar Port through a Chinese grant.

The planning minister directed completion of the desalination plant within six to nine months to ease out the populace of Gwadar.

Reviewing the progress of 15 x projects to be funded through the non-PSDP model at a cost of Rs20.376 billion, Umar said that 78 per cent of the projects have been approved, while projects amounting to approximately Rs10.188 billion are in various stages of implementation in the current fiscal year.

To improve the digital connectivity in Gwadar, Chaghi, Noukeshi and Kech; the USF has awarded contracts for districts at a cost of Rs3.2 billion; planned completion is by July 24, 2022.

The meeting was also informed that the contract for high-speed broadband connectivity along M-8 and the national highways is likely to be awarded by the third quarter of 2021.

The minister appreciated that efforts of telecom and data coverage will increase the livelihood opportunities to more than 0.5 million people of Southern Balochistan.

Reviewing the progress of projects to be funded through the Public-Private Partnership model, the planning minister said the private sector is the real driver of growth of countries across the globe and even today Sialkot-Kharian Motorway has been inaugurated by the prime minister through such a model.

The meeting was informed that the supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the population of Southern Balochistan is a priority project; whereby, the Petroleum Division has prepared a draft summary for the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) consideration and circulated the same for views/comments of all the stakeholders.

The house was also informed that the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) is working on off-grid electrification of Southern Balochistan districts and a consultant has been hired.

The Fishermen Empowerment Programme has been inaugurated by the prime minister as part of the Kamyab Jawan Programme.

The MOU has been signed with four banks (Punjab, the National Bank of Pakistan, Alfalah Bank, Habib Bank Limited); whereby, the banks will provide loans to the eligible applicants.

Planning secretary Hameed Yaqoob Sheikh, South Balochistan Development Package focal person and senior officials attended the meeting.

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