CDWP approves projects worth Rs 1 billion : Ahsan Iqbal for spending public money prudently

* 12 projects worth Rs 60bn forwarded to ECNEC for approval

ISLAMABAD: Public money should be spent prudently through a transparent mechanism as we are answerable for every rupee to the people of Pakistan, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said while chairing a meeting of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in Islamabad on Thursday. 
The CDWP considered 16 projects costing Rs 66 billion, including foreign aid of Rs 5.6 billion. Out of these projects, 12 costing Rs 60 billion were recommended to ECNEC for approval.
Power: Eight projects for “Augmentation and Extension of 132/11KV Transformers Power Distribution (tranch-4) for IESCO, FESCO, PESCO, HESCO, GEPCO, MEPCO, LESCO and QESCO – having an accumulated cost of Rs 22.7 billion to be funded with the assistance of Rs 4.5 billion from the Asian Development Bank – were forwarded to ECNEC for approval. 
The main objective of the projects is to provide adequate facilities for reliable and uninterrupted supply of electricity and to meet the growing demand of domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers.
The CDWP chairman directed the Ministry of Water and Power to report to the CDWP the targets achieved under the 3 trenches vis-à-vis targets.
Transport and communication: The project ‘Rawalpindi – Islamabad Metro Bus Service’ (Islamabad Portion, length 13.656km) costing Rs 23.6 billion was approved in principle subject to rationalisation of cost and scope by a committee, headed by the Cabinet Division secretary with members from the Capital Development Authority, Rawalpindi Development Authority, Finance Division and chiefs of sections T&C, Economic Appraisal and Environment of the Planning Commission. 
The committee will also look into the feasibility study, environment impact assessment and economic viability of the project. The project will offer good connectivity and road infrastructure between the twin cities and benefit the commuters by providing better quality and environment-friendly public transport system. 
The other project ‘Economic Corridor Support Project’ costing Rs 743 million was also approved by the CDWP on Thursday. Capacity building of public sector organisations will be ensured through this project.
Water resources: A project namely ‘Detailed engineering design and tender documents of Munda Dam’ costing Rs 990 million was approved subject to the further rationalisation of cost. 
The project is aimed at generation of 740MW of hydropower and storage of 1.29MAF of water. Ministry of Water and Power secretary was directed to hold an inquiry into the expenditure incurred so far. He was also told that special audit should be conducted, cost be rationalised by reducing it from 10-15 percent, and report be submitted to the CDWP within a month. 
Physical planning and housing: Two projects of PP&H sector were considered by the CDWP on Thursday namely ‘PNRA Residential Colony at Chashma’, costing Rs 466 million, and ‘Provision of Drinking Water to the Fishermen Communities along Coastline of Pasni and Ormara Sub-Divisions of Balochistan (revised) (Italian Dept Swap)’ costing Rs 586 million. The projects were approved by the CDWP. 
The second project aims at providing 0.35MGD to 35,000 fishermen. The project will be executed by the government of Balochistan, while funds will be provided by the federal government. 
Higher education: One project for award of 3,000 scholarships to students from Afghanistan under the prime minister’s directives, costing Rs 6.2 billion, was forwarded to ECNEC for approval. 
Under this project, Afghan students would be provided scholarships in the discipline of medicine, dental and engineering – both in public and private sector universities. The scholarship would cover all expenses, including air travel. The minister directed that a committee should review the criteria for selection of programmes of study and institutions to ensure merit and transparency in the scheme.
Education: The projects ‘Establishment and operation of basic education community school (BECS) in the country’, costing Rs 4.4 billion, and ‘Improving human indicator in Pakistan (NCHD) with focus on MDGs relating to education and six EFA goals (revised)’, costing Rs 6 billion, were considered by the CDWP. The BECS project is aimed at establishment and operation of 20,000 basic education community schools and establishment of 2,500 literacy and skill development centres. 
The project will increase enrolment of children in primary schools and help increase the literacy rate. 
The project was forwarded to ECNEC for approval. However, the CDWP chairman directed that the employees of both the programmes should only be regularised on merit, after observing government rules like provincial quota, clearance from FPSC, etc. 
Furthermore, in case of NCHD, the CDWP directed the Ministry of Education and Training to evaluate the programme. After evaluation, the project may again be submitted for consideration to the CDWP.
The CDWP also conceptually cleared the ‘Pothohar Climate Smart Irrigated Agriculture Programme’ with an estimated cost of Rs 42 billion, and the ‘Digitalisation of PTV terrestrial network’ with an estimated cost of Rs 3.4 billion.

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