PESHAWAR -  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has taken an initiative to provide low-cost houses to middle and lower income groups as well as government employees facing accommodation problems.

For the purpose, satellite towns would be built across the province at district level. The scheme will commence from Hazara Division where according to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Housing Authority, there was a shortage of over two hundred and twelve thousands housing units.

Deputy commissioners in Hazara Division have been directed to undertake surveys and identify and arrange lands for the proposed towns in their respective districts by May 20. According to the directives, the land for the proposed towns should be of area between five hundreds to twenty thousand kanals.

The plots comprising five marlas each will cost Rs300,000 while Rs4.59 billion financial arrangements would be made through banks by KP government. This amount would be disbursed to successful applicants in form of loan money on highly subsidised mark-up for the construction of houses.

This information was made public at a meeting held at KP House, Abbottabad on Tuesday with advisor to the chief minister for housing Dr Amjad Khan in the chair.

The meeting was attended by Additional Commissioner Hazara Division Arshad Naveed, all deputy commissioners, district nazims of Mansehra, Battagram and Torghar districts, KP Housing Authority’s Director General Ejaz Afzal and other officers. Saif-ur-Rehman Usmani, Director Town Planning, PHA, briefed the participants about the prominent features of the scheme.

Dr Amjad informed the participants that the Provincial Housing Authority was established in 2004, but unfortunately no progress was made by previous regimes to address the issue of housing shortage.

He, however, said that Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan sensed the gravity of the situation and took steps to provide homes at very low cost. He also conveyed to the participants that TMAs and other local bodies did not have the required town planning experts and services which caused growth of unplanned and undisciplined housing colonies. He added, for this reason the Provincial Housing Authority had taken this issue under its own wings.

Responding to the queries of deputy commissioners working in hilly stations, he stated that separate planning would be undertaken to provide homes on the rough terrains particularly those of Torghar and Kohistan districts.

The advisor assured to properly consider proposed legislation for avoiding disputes that mostly arise on utilisation of Shamilat lands for public purposes.

The meeting also discussed probability of certain obstacles in smooth execution of the scheme and explored ways and means to remove them. The participants emphasised the need for devising simple and fool-proof mechanism for the common people to acquire the plots and other facilities.

It was assured by the PHA that information and facilitation centres would be setup in all districts to provide information, guidance and necessary services under one roof.

Meanhwile, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Tuesday said that the KP government signed MoUs for 82 projects worth around Rs 24 billion with the Chinese companies during his recent visit to China under the KP Economic Cooperation Road Show (KECRS).

He maintained that his visit would change the destiny of the province.

According to the details, the KP government signed MoUs are 11 energy, seven housing, 12 industry, seven information technology, four local government, three mines and minerals, nine highways, two agriculture, three cultural, 19 higher-education, one urban development and three WSSP projects.

The chief minister revealed this during his meeting with different delegations at the Chief Minister House, Peshawar.

The chief Minister said that these projects would soon see the light of the day, adding that in addition to these projects, the KP government had agreements with the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) for four projects worth 10 billion dollars.

Karak Oil Refinery, Haripur Cement Factory, 600 MW of electricity and two housing schemes are included in these projects.

The government would get a share up to 10 per cent without sharing a single penny in the projects. By this yardstick, these projects and agreements were historic in nature, he added.

Pervez Khattak made it clear that it was the watchful interest indicated by the Chinese companies in the 6th JCC meeting that he started supervising the preparatory work to hold a road show and prepared 100 projects to showcase them in the Beijing Road Show.

The Chinese companies signed MoUs for 82 projects, prominent among them are motorway industrial park, greater circular railway project, Peshawar mass transit, projects in energy, D.I.Khan economic zone, Kohat economic zone, Kohat Oil Refinery, Swat Model town, south districts economic zone, Cargo Rail, alternate route to CPEC from Gilgit to Chitral, Dir and Chakdara, greater water supply scheme for Peshawar, 500 KW of grid station at Darosh and Chakdara, petroleum block, oil marketing and storage, China-KP TTC Commercial Complexes, Warsak one and two, low cost housing schemes, IT related projects, Mansehra special economic zone, technology city Reshakai and a new general bus stand in Peshawar.

The chief minister said that there were both the government to government and business to business projects, adding that over 90 private companies participated in the road-show on their own cost.

He said that the government only facilitated them and these private companies also concluded different projects of 900 million dollars. 

He said that we would not take loans that would over burden the resource base of the province.

He said that the province was not a feasible province but the CPEC made it the most feasible, adding that he had already signed an MoU for solar kit for 10 thousands schools and 400 hospitals.

He also talked about the government pro-investment policy and added that these agreements were held transparently. He warned against any illegal dealing, otherwise, he would cancel the agreements.

Pervez Khattak said that he would have made headway much before but unfortunately the federal government obstructed their efforts.