Oct 20 - 26, 2008

The Federal Government okayed 51 projects worth Rs.262.4 billion for the current financial year including foreign exchange constituent of Rs.92.2 billion.

The Central Development Working Party under Deputy Chairman Planning Commission agreed 42 new projects costing Rs.237.7 billion. Nine projects costs were raised from Rs.14 billion to Rs.24.7 billion.

Out of the 51 projects approved by government 46 projects worth Rs.218.4 billion will be funded by the Federal Government.

The Central Development Working Party had laid major emphasis on development of infrastructure, which had been considerably neglected in the past years by the previous governments.

18 projects in Punjab, including 13 of the Multan Package costing Rs.500 million, would be financed by the Punjab Government. The Provincial Government would also provide Rs.5.31 billion for Cherah Dam Project.

Six development projects worth Rs.94.40 billion, eight for Balochistan to be finished at a cost of Rs.9.10 billion, two for NWFP worth Rs.600 million and six for Azad Jammu and Kashmir of Rs.13.10 billion were also sanctioned. An amount of Rs.1.50 billion was approved for three projects in Fata.

A total of 32 development projects were approved in the infrastructure costing Rs.238 billion that include foreign exchange component of Rs.81.26 billion.

In water resources, four projects costing Rs.8.05 billion have been sanctioned. In social sector 18 projects valuing Rs.24.4 billion were approved.

The CDWP approved WAPDA's PC-1 amounting to Rs.116.7 billion of Diamer Basha land acquisition and resettlement plan. This 272 meter Dam will be highest roller compacted concrete (RCC) Dam with more than 100 kilometer long reservoirs. The project will generate 4,500 MW electricity. This will be the biggest project ever to be carried out in the country. This Dam will contribute more than 18,000 Giga Watt-hours of electricity annually. Also, it will help the government to cope up with increasing demand of water.

Karachi Circular Railway Project is anticipated to be finished in approximately three years period at a cost of Rs.52.4 billion with a foreign element of Rs.39.3 billion. This project has been sanctioned on the condition that operative losses would have to be borne by City Government or the Government of Sindh. The ultimate purpose of this project is to provide an easy, reliable, safe and speedy modern-urban-rail-based commuter service to the people who are already facing immense transport problem.

The 50 kilometer railway project will have 21 underpasses and overhead bridges. The KCR would carry an estimated 700,000 passengers daily through 246 trains.

For the improvement of infrastructure in Urban area of Sindh Rs.30 billion has been sanctioned.

Government approved Rs.8.8 billion for health projects for education mostly related to HIV/ Aids programme and Rs.6.2 billion for governance.

An amount of Rs.8.1 billion has been approved for the deepening and widening of Port Qasim Navigation Channel. This will be financed by PQA from its own resources.

Two hydel projects are to be constructed in Azad Kashmir at a cost of Rs.6.7 billion. The Federal Government will provide 70 percent of the cost of Rs.6.70 billion while the rest will be borne by Azad and Jammu Government.

CDWP approved Rs.5.5 billion for water supply and sewerage scheme in Mirpur and hamlets in the periphery of Mangla Dam.

An amount of Rs.5 billion was approved for establishment of 43.5 MW Jagran hydropower station (Phase II) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The CDWP approved Rs.2.55 billion for Indus 21 water sector capacity building and advisory service project.

For acquisition of land for new Gwadar International Airport Rs.1.5 billion has been approved.

For provision/ installation of Instrument landing System (ILS) facility at Quetta International Airports, Rs.65 million has been approved.

In another second meeting held recently on 12th October 2008 CDWP cleared 47 projects worth Rs.50.1 billion, including foreign exchange component of Rs.5.8 billion. Twenty five of the 47 projects are related to infrastructure. 18 projects of the social sector mainly relating to education have been revised.

In this meeting Lyari Expressway Resettlement project, Karachi has been revised to enable the displaced household to be re-settled. The CDWP requested the Infrastructure Development Facility (IPDF) to seek expression of interest from the private parties to finance these projects, which also include the Hassanabdal. Havelian-Mansehra Expressway. It also decided to undertake detailed engineering design and tender documents of the Munda Dam Project, which will generate 748 MW electricity and irrigate 2300 acres land. Further, it approved the establishment of a new College of Home Economics and Management Services and up-gradation of training equipment of the Pakistan Marine Academy Project. It cleared two more nuclear plants at Chashma to be established with Chinese assistance.

The IPDF and Board of Investment (BOI) have been made permanent member of CDWP to solicit their views that which of the projects could be shifted to the public-private partnership sector.

It is most often noticed that expenditure to be incurred on development project are subject to delay in implementation and costs over these projects are only small portion booked for payment. The remaining is siphoned off, all along the way. In this situation the sub-standard materials are used for the completion of the projects. This results in tragedy, claiming precious human lives. The Lyari Expressway in Karachi is a model example. It collapsed within days. Nobody has yet to be blamed for this blunder. Such sort of criminal practices must be avoided at all cost.

All projects approved by the Federal Government must be fully executed in the interest of economic and social welfare of the people rather than solely satisfying the bureaucrats or the ministers of the political parties. Since billion of rupees will be incurred in the implementation of the projects, accountability process should take it course for those who are engaged in implementing the project. On time completion of the projects especially infrastructure projects must be honoured. In order to ensure transparency in the implementation of different vital projects the element of personal discretion at political or bureaucratic level must be discouraged. Further implementation process of the project must be completely free from malpractices and corruption.

In the past there had been practices of allocating substantial amount on different projects but nothing was clearly stated in public or media whether these projects were implemented in totality or partially or completely abandoned or their funds allocation had been expired or not. General public can be informed through media whether the projects approved by the government have been sincerely implemented or deliberately ignored. The public has right to know as to why projects worth billion of rupees were deliberately ignored as they were to be built and utilised judiciously for their welfare.

In the execution of these projects there is likely to be curtailment of expenditure during last four or five months of this fiscal year owing to financial crises. Further, spiraling energy cost and the galloping steel and cement prices may create obstacles in the implementation of the projects, therefore in this situation the government should be prepared to confront these problem and take concrete measures so that the project at least of major importance for the social and economic welfare of the general public are not thrown out or shelved.