ISLAMABAD - The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved 33 projects costing Rs 82.114 billion with foreign exchange component of Rs 49.528 billion.

The CDWP, which met under the chair of Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, approved 33 projects. Approved projects cover health, higher education, environment, physical planning & housing, information and broadcasting, culture, transport & communication, water and energy sectors.

The projects of higher education sector included enhancement of infrastructure at IMS Sciences Peshawar, provision of academic and research facilities of Government College University of Faislabad, establishment of main campus of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology Islamabad, Quaid-e-Awan University of Engineering & Technology, Nawab Shah and US Aid Merit and Need based Scholarship Programme phase -II, under which thousand scholarships shall be awarded to needy students for higher education in leading educational institutions in the country.

The minister said, “Building a knowledge economy is the main goal of our development strategy. Building qualities universities is top most priority of the government. HEC must ensure that quality of research in universities is maintained at international standards.”

CDWP approved two projects of Railways. These projects included Rehabilitation of 27 NGMU - 30 Diesel Electric Locomotives. Under this project, 27 existing over-aged HGMU - 30 diesel electric locomotives of 3,000 HP will be rehabilitated at a cost of Rs 6.3 billion to make them fit for operation for another lease of life of 12-15 years. Rehabilitation cost 50% of the cost of new locomotives.

Railways will procure 50 diesel electric locomotives at a cost of Rs 19.4 billion. Half of the engines would be 3000 HP while 25 engines will have the capacity of 2000 HP. These locos will be used to haul freight traffic including furnace oil required for forthcoming Independent Power Plants. Iqbal emphasized that procurement should be made in a transparent manner and according to local weather conditions. It is hoped that this investment will improve performance of Pakistan Railways.

CDWP approved project of Flyover in Quetta city to be executed by Government of Balochistan under Quetta Development Package of Rs 3.0 billion.  Similarly, CDWP also approved 4 other projects relating to provincial roads costing Rs 3.4 billion located in Balochistan. Of Rs 3.4 billion, Rs 2.0 billion will be provided by Federal Government to assist the Government of Balochistan though construction of provincial roads is the responsibility of the provincial government. CDWP also approved up-gradation and re-modeling of Ring Road (Southern Section) Peshawar costing Rs 2.9 billion.

In the water sector, 8 projects costing Rs 37 billion including Gomal Zame Dam located in Tank and D.I. Khan District at a cost of Rs 22480 million was recommended by CDWP to ECNEC for consideration/approval. Gomal Zam Dam will harness flood water to provide assured irrigation water supply of 848 Cusecs and irrigate 191,138 acres of land. The dam would also generate 17.4MW electricity.

Mujahid Dam located in Rawalpindi District costing Rs. 701 million was also approved by the CDWP. The dam will provide 14 cusecs of sustainable irrigation water supply. The dam will irrigate 2000 acres of agricultural land. Other water sector projects approved by CDWP included Mohra Shera Dam and Punjab irrigation system improvement project costing Rs 11534 million. Construction of small dams in Balochistan was approved by CDWP. CDWP directed to undertake feasibility study for the exploration of ground water along old course of historical river at Thar Coal area. Construction of 132 kv grid station at Jamrud and 132 kv feeder for Jamrud in & out  from 500 kv Grid Station Sheikh Muhammad/Jamrud Transmission line was approved.

CDWP approved four projects in health sector. Centre for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy Quetta will be upgraded at a cost of Rs 823 million. Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will finance 03 projects costing Rs 2342 million including TB Control Programme, Immunization Programme and Social Health Protection.