MUZAFFARABAD - Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) has completed 9580 projects out of 14513 projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) earthquake hit areas and reaffirmed its commitment to complete rest ongoing projects on priority basis.It was told by the Director General Urban Development of ERRA Brig. Zafar Wahla while briefing Journalists here. The Journalists visited the Muzaffarabad city to observe ERRA different completed projects. While briefing the journalists, Wahla said that 10 mega projects have been completed while 37 projects are under construction on fast track basis in the city. He added that 12 more mega and small projects will be launched in couple of months. He said that so far Rs 18.68 billion has been spent on various development projects. He said that 589 educational institutes have been established while 365 are under construction in Muzaffarabad city and its suburbs areas. About the health facilities, he said that out of 61 designed projects, 39 have been completed while 22 projects are under construction. He was determined to complete these projects at the earliest.About the livelihood projects in AJK capital, he said that out of total 680 schemes, 346 were completed while construction work is in progress on rest of 239 projects.To improve the environment in the city, 83 projects have been launched out of which, 34 have been completed, he added. About the water and sanitation schemes, he told that 2771 projects have been completed. He added that the rest of 813 projects would be completes in time.To a question about the funding, he said that China government has pledged to complete 37 projects of education, urban development, health, and infrastructure at the total cost of US$ 353 million.Earlier briefing the media persons at Nalochi state of art bridge, Brig. Pervaiz Hayat Niazi said that this bridge is near completion and will be open within couple of month to ease the traffic load. He added bridge has been constructed at cost of Rs 2 billion which was provided by Japan government.To a question, he said that the bridge has the capacity to resist more than 8 rector scale earthquake. About misappropriation of ERRA funds, delaying tactics to linger on the projects, he rebutted the notion and said that more than 0.6 million houses have been completed in transparent way. The Journalists also visited different facilities in the Muzaffarabad city and Chinese construction company construction camp where they were told about developmental works in Muzaffarabad city.SUB-COMMITTEE ON ENGINEERING TO FRAME TECH GUIDELINES: Ministry of Science and Technology will soon constitute a sub-committee on Engineering and manufacturing sector to formulate technical recommendations and policy guidelines for the government.Besides,accreditation and re-accreditation of Engineering Programs in higher education institutions of engineering and technology will also be expedited.The importance of Engineering Industry and Manufacturing sector for their contribution towards the GDP of a country can hardly be over-emphasized, said an official at Ministry of Science and Technology.Pakistan Engineering Goods Industry, despite being small in terms of size, contribution to Gross domestic product (GDP) and exports, has a large potential to grow and contribute in GDP and exports, he said. "Pakistan is endowed with a large pool of young manpower which is hard-working and talented as evidenced by their performance in international labour market". The existing industrial infrastructure in the country has enormous potential of export earning, he said, adding but is marred by multifarious problems of management, innovation, energy supplies, unfavorable local and international regulations and high interest rates.The official said there must be capacity building programmes for engineers, adding Engineering Practice Examination (EPE) must be held for elevation of Registered Engineers (REs) to Professional engineers (PEs).The engineering sector is diverse and all its sub-sectors have their own dynamics and value chain, he said, adding the engineering sector is largely dependent on imports for its inputs, is technology and knowledge intensive and employs relatively more skilled people than other sectors. "Owing to continuous need for skill, product design and manufacturing process improvement, it faces altogether a different challenge to compete internationally".He said industrialized countries depend on their engineers to earn foreign exchange that increases national wealth and enables governments to provide civic facilities to its citizens. Engineering products are also the ones where the role of technology is most obvious, he said, adding the prosperity of any country is strongly dependent on the robustness of its engineering and production sectors.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 17-Feb-2014 here.