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Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a progress review meeting on the South Balochistan Development Plan here in Islamabad on Thursday. Secretary Planning Hameed Yaqoob Sheikh, focal person S. Balochistan Development Package, and senior officials attended the meeting.
In line with the vision of the honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan for the development of unprivileged and less developed areas in Pakistan, concerted efforts have led to the successful completion of Phase-I of the South Balochistan Development Package (SBDP); culminating in the listing of approved projects in PSDP 2021-22 and allocation of funds. In order to ensure implementation of approved projects at an accelerated pace, Planning Minister, Mr. Asad Umer reviewed the Progress on Phase-II of the Southern Balochistan Development Plan and showed satisfaction with the progress on SBDP projects.
While reviewing the progress of new projects to be funded through Federal PSDP, the Planning Minister observed that 90% of the projects have been approved and included in Federal PSDP 2021-22 @ Rs 234.315 billion out of which Rs 25.721 billion have been allocated in CFY. Likewise, for various approved and ongoing PSDP projects amounting Rs. 274.689 Billion, allocation for CFY amounts Rs. 29.160 billion. While reviewing the status of PC-I/IIs and corresponding financials, the Planning Minister observed that the current portfolio of Balochistan in 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 reviews the progress on Priority SBDP projects, the Planning Minister was informed that NHA has commenced procurement for 3 Projects i.e Construction of Hoshab – Awaran – Khuzdar Section of M-8 [Awaran – Naal 168 KM] @ Rs 32 billion, Hoshab-Awaran Section of M-8 (146 km) @ Rs 38 billion and Rehabilitation & Upgradation Awaran - Jhaljao Road (54.8 KM) @ Rs 6.9 billion. It was further informed that 7 x Road sector projects amounting Rs. 24.39 billion and 7 x water dams’ projects amounting Rs. 48.68 billion have been approved/ included in PSDP 2021-22 and their award process is being expedited. In order to address water shortages especially at Gwadar, funds have been approved for connecting the Shadi-Kaur dam with the Gwadar pipeline. Additionally, CDWP has accorded approval for the installation of a 1.2 MGD desalination plant at Gwadar Port through a Chinese grant. The Planning Minister directed completion of desalination plant within 6 – 9 months to ease out populace of Gwadar.
While reviewing the progress of 15 x projects to be funded through the Non-PSDP model @ Rs 20.376 billion, the Planning Minister observed that 78% of the projects have been approved while projects amounting to approx. Rs 10.188 billion are in various stages of implementation in CFY. In order to improve Digital Connectivity in Gwadar, Chaghi, Noukeshi, Kech; USF has awarded contracts for districts @ Rs 3200 million; planned completion is by 24 July 2022. He was further informed that the contract for High-Speed Broadband Connectivity along M-8 and National Highways is likely to be awarded by the 3rd quarter of 2021. The Minister appreciated that efforts of Tele & Data coverage will increase the livelihood opportunities to more than 0.5 million people of Southern Balochistan.
Minister also reviewing the progress of projects to be funded through Public-Private Partnership model, the Planning Minister commented that Private sector is the real driver of growth of countries across the globe and even today Sialkot-Kharian motorway has been inaugurated by Prime Minister through such model. Planning Minister was informed that Supply of LPG to the Population of Southern Balochistan is a Priority project whereby Petroleum Div has prepared a draft summary for CCoE consideration and circulated same for views/ comments of all stakeholders. The house was further informed that AEDB is working on Off-grid Electrification of Southern Balochistan districts and a consultant has been procured. Fishermen Empowerment Programme has been inaugurated by Prime Minister as part of PM Kamyab Jawan Program. The MOU has been signed with 4 banks (Punjab, NBP, Al Flah, Habib) whereby banks will provide loans to eligible applicants.