The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Thursday approved projects worth Rs 440 billion including Karachi-Multan-Lahore Motorway and Prime Minister’s programme for provision of laptops to talented students.

The ECNEC meeting, which was chaired by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, considered development projects. The ECNEC principally approved the Prime Minister’s (national) programme for provision of laptops to talented students (HEC) with a rationalized cost of Rs.4.928 billion.

It is envisaged that during this year 100,000 laptops would be distributed amongst the young and bright students studying in any public sector higher education institute across the country.

The ECNEC also approved Karachi-Multan-Lahore Motorway (KLM) Project-construction of Sukkur-Multan Section (387km) with a rationalized cost of Rs.259.353 billion. Ten per cent cost of project will come from PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme) and ninety percent of total cost as credit financing through Government of China. The project will be completed by October 2017 and executing agency is NHA.

The project envisages construction of 387km long, six lanes, Sukkur-Multan section of 1148km Karachi-Lahore Motorway including construction of bridges, interchanges, nullahs etc. Meanwhile, the ECNEC also approved the project for land acquisition, affected properties compensation and relocation of utilities for construction of 959km Karachi Lahore Motorway (KLM) with a rationalized cost of Rs.51 billion. The ECNEC approved raising of Balochistan constabulary project at a rationalized cost of Rs.5.146 billion with FEC of Rs200 million. The project aims to assist police and district administration in maintenance of law and order in Balochistan by recruiting 6,000 additional force and merging 4,000 reserve police personnel to make 10,000 strong force of Balochsitan constabulary.

The ECNEC also approved Flood Emergency Reconstruction Project for bunds and canals (Revised-PC-I) at a cost of Rs.26.905 billion with financial aid of Rs.19.279 billion by the ADB and the local component by the Government of Sindh.

 The project envisages strengthening of entire length of banks of river Indus in general and at Tori, SM Bund and FP Bund at Mancher Lake, which was damaged by the unprecedented floods of 2010.

The ECNEC also considered and approved the project for evacuation of power from wind power plants at Jhimpir & Gharo wind clusters located in district Thatta and Jamshoro in Sindh with a modified cost of Rs.11.277 billion. The project will be completed in three years and it envisages evacuation of 1756MW of wing power from the two sites through construction of 220KV and 132KV double circuits’ transmission lines.

The ECNEC also approved acquisition of land for establishment of Free Trade Zone at Gwadar with a rationalized cost of Rs.6.499 billion. The project envisages acquisition of 2281 acres of land for establishment of free trade zone at Gwadar Port, out of which 1627 acres of land would be acquired from private land owners.

The ECNEC approved the widening & improvement of 250km of Kalat-Quetta-Chaman Road Section (KQC) of National Highway N-25 with a revised cost of Rs.19.140 billion with FEC of Rs.13.920 billion coming as a USAID grant. The ECNEC also approved Hasanabdal (Burhan)-Havelian Expressway (E-35, total length 59.1km) with a rationalized cost of Rs.30.494 billion including FEC of Rs.7.592 billon.

ECNEC approved establishment of information technology management sciences and telecommunication institutes at Islamabad at a revised cost of Rs.3.938 billion with FEC of Rs.613 million. The sponsoring agency is HEC and the executing agency is National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad.  The ECNEC further approved rehabilitation and upgradation of Trimmu Barrage and Panjnad Headwork’s (ADB assisted) with a rationalized cost of Rs.16.8 billion including ADB loan of Rs.14.9 billion.

The ECNEC considered and approved dualization and improvement of 64km long Mandra-Chakwal Raod project with a revised cost of Rs.4.671 billion.

 The project envisages construction of dual way 2-lanecarriageway between Mandra and Chakwal to facilitate heavy traffic of the section.

In his opening remarks, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar said that it has been observed that most of the projects are not completed on time and as a result of that the costs increase considerably.

 He said that we should aim for a mechanism through which projects are delivered on time as there is a huge social and developmental cost attached to delays.

He said that the Planning, Development and Reform Division should monitor physical progress as well as the results that these projects envisaged to be achieved.

He added that evaluation of PC-4s should be come a regular exercise. He further added that we have to make improvements in the system for better results.