Islamabad - The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) Tuesday approved nine developmental projects costing Rs 74 billion including energy sector projects to overcome the ongoing power shortage.

Headed by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, the CDWP has met here for the first time under the new government on Tuesday. The CDWP is the second-highest body in charge of approving developmental projects. It clears mega schemes for final approval from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), which is chaired by Finance Minister.

CDWP is authorised to approve projects costing up to Rs.1 billion. Projects costing over Rs.1 billion are to be approved by ECNEC. Five projects costing Rs.104 billion, each costing over Rs.1.0 billion, were recommended by CDWP to ECNEC for consideration. CDWP approved 9 projects costing Rs.74 billion.

To overcome shortage of power in the country, the present government is committed to implement important power sector projects on priority. Two projects related to energy sector costing Rs 61 billion “Interconnection of Chashma -3 (C3) and Chashma-4 (C4) Nuclear Power Plants” with objective to instill transmission line for dispersal of 630 MW net power from two new projects C3 & C4 into national grid. “Combined Cycle Power Plant Nandipur” was also approved having generation capacity of 425 to 525 MW power.

The cost of the project has increased from Rs 22 billion to Rs 57 billion owing to mismanagement of previous government. Sharmai Hydro Power Project having power generation capacity of 150 MW was also discussed. The CDWP formulated the committee under the Chairmanship of Member (I&M), Planning Commission to review the cost of the project to be implemented on PPP mode.

A project titled “Up-gradation of Security Infrastructure / Equipment at Major Airports in Pakistan (JICA Assisted)” was recommended by CDWP with grant-in-aid of Rs 1605 million from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The objective of the project is to ensure security at the major airports of the country compatible with state-of-the-art technology set by the International community at various international airports.

The project envisages provision of Explosive Detection Scanning System and vehicle cargo scanning system. Minister directed that a certificate should be obtained from the suppliers that radiation from equipment meets international safety standards. Reduction in size of Lahore Airport by military regime of Musharraf claiming to have saved Rs.3 billion would now cost exchequer Rs.12 billion to meet the present demand.

A project “Punjab Economic Opportunities Programme” costing Rs 8.2 billion including foreign assistance of Rs 4.5 billion from Department for International Development from UK has been recommended by CDWP to ECNEC for consideration.

The project has four components i.e. Programme Coordination Unit, Punjab Skills Development Funds (PSDP), Livestock Component and Technical Cooperation. The project aims to develop a competitive market for training provision, support marginalised regions through policy, direct interventions at the grass root level, skill development strategy employment - intensive growth to alleviate poverty. The project has been revised due to its extension from four Southern Punjab Districts to all over Punjab with certain modifications in the project. Project is to be financed by Government of the Punjab through its ADP.

A project “Sustainable Livestock Development for Rural Sindh” costing Rs 878 million was also approved. This project will be funded with grant of Rs 702 million from JICA. The project is to be financed by Government of Sindh through its ADP.

Other projects discussed by CDWP include “Water Supply Scheme for Hub Industrial & Trading Estate, Phase-II, (Extension) (Revised)” costing Rs 373 million, “In Country Training and Provision of Equipment for Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) (JICA Funded)” costing Rs 212 million and “Federal Government DATA Centre and Internet” costing Rs 729 million, “Capacity Building of Technical Teachers of Technical & Vocational Training Centers in Malakand Division at Peshawar and Ghazi- Haripur (JICA Assisted)” costing Rs 251 million.

CDWP also approved five lanes each side for Kashmir Highway from Peshawar Mor to GT Road (including construction of new bridges for the additional carriageway)”. The federal Government would provide 50pc of the cost of the project. CDA was directed to complete the project at the shortest possible time.

Mr Ahsan Iqbal directed that commercial area along Kashmir Highway should be developed to generate funds and the development should be environment friendly. He directed that rail/metro bus link provision from new airport to Islamabad should also be made. He asked chairman CDA to hold an inquiry into 500 missing computers given to CDA for computerization of the department and submit a report on action taken against culprits.

In opening remarks Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that billions are wasted through poor planning of projects. All departments should exercise due diligence in preparing of projects and stakeholders consultation must be done prior to submission of projects. He directed to set criteria in every project i.e. what were tangible outcome and what that project delivered to the state. He further ordered to strictly follow merit while recruiting human resource in projects.