ISLAMABAD - The Council of Common Interests (CCI) yesterday again put off national census for an indefinite period while it decided to work out modalities and availability of servicemen for the nose count.

The CCI met after a year with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair while all the provincial chief ministers and other council members attended the meeting. Statistics Division Secretary Shahid Hussain Asad updated the council on preparations and hurdles to holding the census.

“As the armed forces can’t spare required number of personnel for the one-day exercise owing to its engagement in the ongoing military operation against militants so it can’t be conducted,” the secretary said.

The meeting was informed that the country was divided into 166,819 blocks for which staff of 210,239 heads was required while deployment of required army personnel in March/April was ‘not possible’.

The PM, in consultation with all the four chief ministers, postponed the census and decided to announce the date after taking all the stakeholders onboard.

The council will meet on March 25 to exclusively take up the National Flood Protection Plan. The meeting observed that National Flood Protection Plan was of paramount national importance and therefore agreed to take it up as a single item agenda in the upcoming meeting. A committee, comprising the water and power minister, climate change minister and four chief ministers, will present the plan.

The meeting was also briefed on Formulation of National Flood Protection Plan-IV (2015-25). The meeting decided that comprehensive feasibility studies in consultation with all provinces and stakeholders must be carried out before presenting the same in the next meeting of CCI.

The CCI also okayed Security and Exchange Commission Bill.

The council observed that massive illegalities were involved in the conception, execution and completion of Kachi Canal project. It was informed that initially the project was approved by ECNEC at a cost of Rs27. 5 billion in 2003, however, later the PC-I was revised with an escalating cost of Rs57.7 billion and the project was started prior to the approval of feasibility study and PC-I.

The PM noted with concern the illegal releases of funds to a project without its approval. All those who started the project and released funds in violation of rules and procedures must be identified and penalised, said Nawaz said.

“The country cannot face such misadventures at the cost of public money. Whether departments or individuals, but those responsible must be made answerable to the people of Pakistan for such faulty projects,” he said. The CCI approved the formation of an inquiry commission under a retired judge either of Supreme Court or high court.

Underlining the significance of the project for Pakistan, the prime minister said that fresh feasibility study along with implementation plan will be prepared immediately.

Before the formal meeting of the CCI, the prime minister discussed political situation and development projects with special reference to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the chief ministers.

Praising the prime minister for the 1991 water accord, the Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that it was a faultless mechanism of water distribution among the provinces. He also thanked Nawaz for the recently inaugurated Rs16 billion Green Line bus service in Karachi.

KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak thanked PM Nawaz for resolving the longstanding issues of payment of net hydel profit and net hydel arrears as well as for the Chashma Right Bank Uplift Canal.

Khattak said that a few hydel projects of the province needed approval. The PM said that the projects must be submitted for approval of the federal government without any delay.

The meeting discussed the agenda item of Pakistan Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Bill 2014. The meeting was informed that the bill has been passed by the parliament and the decision, in this regard, stands implemented. The meeting informed that the agenda item of Public Debt Management and Supervision Policy also stands implemented.