MULTAN - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi declared on Sunday that a separate Annual Development Programme (ADP) would be printed for the 13 districts and 40 million residents of South Punjab in the next budget and the funds allocated for Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur divisions would not be shifted to upper Punjab anymore.

Talking to the media after inaugurating a newly built Shah Shamas Disposal Station, the FM added that the next phase would be setting up a civil secretariat in Multan. He said that makeshift offices were being established for secretaries in Circuit House while the case for acquiring vast land adjacent to the judicial complex had been moved. 

Qureshi added that the developments for South Punjab province were so big that the people could not even imagine. He said that the funds allocated for South Punjab were shifted away in the past, as a result of which the projects, which had to be completed in a year, took decades. 

“This not only increased the cost of these projects considerably but also caused serious inconvenience to the masses,” he maintained.

He said that the cases for the approval of projects and funds for South Punjab were sent to Lahore in the past but now all decisions could be made in Multan.  He said that the PTI government had started fulfilling promises it made in the electoral manifesto. “In order to fulfill the promise of South Punjab province, the process to transfer powers, set up secretariat and appoint officers has started. Initially 16 departments are being shifted and their secretaries will sit in Multan and Bahawalpur,” he added.

Secretaries of 16 departments will sit in Multan and Bahawalpur

Referring to the disposal project, he said that sewerage was the biggest and longstanding issue of Multan and this problem was neglected for decades. He added that a comprehensive plan was being evolved to resolve this issue. “A project worth over Rs. 2.25 billion to replace old sewerage lines has been launched while Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is going to give Rs. 2.79 billion grant to WASA Multan for the purchase of machinery,” he disclosed. He said that the new sewerage projects would fulfill the needs of the city for next 30 years.

Briefing the FM and media, the Managing Director of WASA Nasir Iqbal said that the new Shah Shamas Disposal was set up on 64 kanals of land at a cost of Rs. 520 million and it had the capacity of 185 cusecs. He added that 14 pumps, mechanical screening chamber and latest machinery was installed and it was connected to newly installed 30 kilometer long sewerage lines in different areas. He said that the new project offered considerable relief to the citizens in ongoing monsoon season.

Later on, while laying the foundation stone of a grid station in Fatima Jinnah Town, Mr. Qureshi said that the PTI government had taken off successfully and now the time had come to offer relief to the masses. He added that the previous governments set up new power generation plants and made agreements with IPPS at a very higher price which resulted into serious spike in electricity price. “The government wants to revise agreements with the IPPs and Prime Minister Imran Khan has talked to IPPs for cut in electricity prices,” he added. He said that many meetings had been held with the IPPs and the price of electricity would go down once new agreements were signed with them. He said that poor planning not only harmed agriculture but also robbed the masses. He disclosed that work on solar projects was also underway and the electricity would go further cheaper once solar, wind and hydel power projects started production.

He claimed that the previous regimes did not launch any dam project while the current government had kicked off the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam and it would complete in seven years. He said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan offered historic relief package to the construction industry as a result of which new jobs would be created. He said that the new grid station would offer 5000 commercial, 500 industrial and 40000 connections and 14 new feeders would be created from it. He further disclosed that the project would be accomplished at a cost of Rs. 51 million and it would ensure uninterrupted power supply to the people.