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ECNEC meeting was historic in the sense that during its day-long deliberations it approved 32 projects

Mar 11 - 17, 2002

The last Thursday meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) was historic in the sense that during its day long deliberations it approved 32 projects involving a massive expenditure of Rs. 229 billion.

In all 34 projects were submitted to the ECNEC and only two were deferred till the next meeting for want of some vital information. The 32 included some which were under consideration for a considerable long time. It has also been decided that henceforth the Planning Commission will monitor the implementation of the approved projects for which it will enhance its monitoring and enforcement capacity both in terms of skill and manpower.

Talking to the newsmen after the meeting, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, said that the government managed to fill financing gap to complete the development projects. There is no problem of financing and we have managed resources for the first phase of these projects. The thirty two projects approved included revised scheme for construction of Gawadar Deep Sea Port (phase 1) with the cost of Rs.14,905 billion including a foreign exchange component of Rs. 8,674 billion.

The ECNEC also approved phase two of water distribution networks for Rawalpindi Cantonment from Khanpur source costing Rs.510 million and the project would be completed in 21 months. It would provide 1948 MGD water to Rawalpindi Cantonment and the 2/3 cost of the project Rs.340 million would be funded by the federal government while the remaining cost would be borne by the sponsors.

The meeting approved Rs.302.720 million for improvement of nutrition through primary health care under SAP-11. It also approved Rs.367.500 million for acquiring of 150 acres land to relocate National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in H- 12 sector Islamabad.

The meeting approved Rs.684.704 million for phase-11 Third World Center for Science and Technology to be established at Karachi University. The cost includes IDB credit of Rs.585 million. The ECNEC also approved Rs.162 million for foreign exchange component revised technical assistance project for modernization of custom administration.

The meeting approved construction of Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad Motorway (M-3) project with total cost of Rs.5021.5 million and it is going to be completed in two years. The government has allocated Rs.1000 million in PSDP of 2001-02. Out of total cost of Rs. 5021.5 million, an amount of Rs.2078 million has already been spent on the project.

The ECNEC approved Rs.782,344 million for rehabilitation of existing carriageway of Baberlo-Ubauro Section of National Highway N-5 located in Upper Sindh. The meeting approved Rs.5861 million multi purpose Mirani Dam Project which includes Rs.2297 million foreign exchange component.

The dam is going to be completed in four years and it will provide 114462 acre feet water to the cultivable command area of about 33200 acres. It would benefit around 50,000 people of more than 9400 families.

The meeting also approved Dakhni Expansion Project at an estimated cost of Rs.1056.082 million with foreign exchange component of Rs.630.35-2 million. To improve Railway services the meeting approved Rs.11.192 billion including foreign exchange component of Rs.4.485 billion, phase and rehabilitation program under the project 1720 track kilometers rails, 49 track kilometers renewal and 200 track kilometers of sleeper renewal will be done from 2001-2006. The project will be financed under PSDP with Islamic Development Bank, suppliers credit and Austrian credit.

Under the PSDP for Railway related projects, the government has allocated Rs.1654 million, including a foreign exchange component of Rs.1143 million in current financial year. As a part of rehabilitation plan for Pakistan Railway, the ECNEC approved revised procurement manufacture of 175 hew design passenger coaches including foreign exchange component of Rs.5455.6 million. The total Railway rehabilitation plan would cost Rs.40.086 billion. Out of this 135 coaches will be manufactured in the carriage factory Islamabad and 40 coaches will be imported.

To improve living condition of 0.40 million urban population in 24 towns of NWFP and the meeting approved Rs.1650 million. It will have foreign exchange component of Rs.192.50 million and the ADB has agreed to provide a loan of US$ 21 million. NWFP government would arrange Rs.396 million through PSDP and district government would contribute Rs.99 million.

To attract and retain about 96,000 girls of 5-9 years and 2400 female teachers in 1200 girls primary schools of Swat, Bunair, Dir, Batagram, Mansehra, and Kohistan district, the ECNEC approved Rs.432.76 million-phase two promotion of primary education in the province.

The meeting approved Rs.741.700 million for improving sewage and drainage system of Lahore. The cost includes Japanese grant of Rs.648 million and it would be completed in three years.

To alleviate the degraded environmental condition in Kasur town, the meeting approved Rs.497.245 million revised Kasur Tannery Pollution Control Project. The project will be completed in three years and the cost will be neared by UNDP 24 per cent, government of Pakistan 41 per cent, Punjab 16 per cent, EPB 15 per cent and Tannery Association 4 per cent.

For introducing Machine Readable Passports, Macing Readable Visas and Automatic Border Control with latest technology in integrated system, the meeting approved Rs.2830.925 million project with foreign exchange component of Rs.1348.180 million.

The ECNEC also approved Rs.1443.51 million to improve transport, communication and investigation techniques of police. Under the project, 30-1300 cc diesel cars, 319-1000 cc petrol cars, 135 small four wheel drive jeep, 1308 single cabin pick ups, 2117 motor cycles and four buses will be purchased in one year. The meeting approved second revised PC-I for construction of National Police Academy in H-11 Sector of Islamabad at the cost of Rs.362.272 million.

The ECNEC approved Rs.33441.764 million for third revised PC-1 of left Bank outfall drainage and National Refinery.

The meeting approved Rs.558.310 million NWFP sectorial area development project to improve quality of life in far-flung areas. The United States would provide Rs.529.135 million while the government of Pakistan would contribute Rs.29.175 million and the project would be completed in five years.

The ECNEC also approved Rs.4136.18 million for phase-1 Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project Rawalpindi. The meeting also approved construction of 97 kilometer Turbat Mand Road at the cost of Rs.391.71 million, construction of road from Umerkot to Chachro with the cost of Rs.208.805 million, widening of National Highway (N-50) from D.I. Khan to Mughal Kot with cost of Rs.1903.21 million and for widening of N-70 from KM Qilla Saifullah to Bestwata with cost of Rs.2934.42 million.

The controversial Thal Flood Water Canal project was approved by the (ECNEC), following a heated bate between the officials of Sindh and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) during the arguments between Wapda and Sindh officials it transpired that the authority had already started work on the project without the approval of the competent authority, an official present at the meeting said.

Wapda official, explaining the authority's point of view, recalled that the project had been inaugurated by President Gen Pervez Musharraf on August 17, soon after unfolding his economic development plan. Wapda official said the authority had, already completed work on a stretch of five kilometres and had already spent substantial amount of funds.

The Sindh government maintained that Wapda should have waited for an approval by the competent authority before starting work on the project. It pointed out that the opinion of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) had not been sought by the Planning Commission which was mandatory in the project concerning irrigation, under a decision of the federal government.