The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Monday approved nine development projects worth billions of rupees.

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting at the Prime Minister's Secretariat.

ECNEC considered and approved the project for the construction of Additional Carriageway (ACW) of Torkham-Jalalabad Road Afghanistan, 73.67km at the re-rationalised cost of Rs 7343.540 million.

The funds for this project are proposed to be met out of $500 million pledged by the Government of Pakistan for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

ECNEC considered and approved the project brought by the Government of Balochistan for improving the standard of education in the province. Balochistan Education Project (BEP) will take 3 years for completion with the total cost of $34 million.

The finance for the project is arranged in the form of a grant from Global Partnership for Education under the World Bank supervision and guidelines for Balochistan education sector to provide access to primary education. The project will cover entire 32 Districts of Balochistan. Under this programme 2000 mixed gender primary schools will be established and 60 girls' schools will be upgraded. This programme will also bring 100,000 out of school children to schools and will provide employment to 4000 teachers.

The Finance Minister congratulated Abdul Raheem Ziaratwal Minister of Balochistan for bringing in such an excellent project with far reaching implications.

The project of Pakistan Railways for the rehabilitation, up gradation and conservation of 400 coaches also got approved by ECNEC. The Project has the revised cost of Rs5200 million rupees including FEC of Rs.446.432 million. Pakistan Railways will also be the executing agency. Out of the total 400 coaches 250 have already been rehabilitated and 43 are in the factory for rehabilitation.

The project of Ministry of Communications for construction of Amri-Kazi Bridge over River Indus (Between Hyderabad Bypass & Dadu Moro Bridge) connecting N-5 with N-55 was approved at the rationalised cost of Rs 7189.108 million. The Federal government will bear 50pc of the total cost for this project and the rest is to be shared by the Sindh government. The National Highway Authority is responsible for the execution of the project.

The revised project envisages construction of 1320 meter long and 19.825 meter wide 4 Lane Bridge over River Indus between Amri located on N-55 and Qazi Ahmed located on N-5 in the District of Nawabshah. The scope of work includes construction of 19.345 Km long and 7.3 meter wide two lane (Single carriageway) approach roads. The scope of work also includes construction of 3.534 Km long guide banks, 75 meter long bridge over RBOD, inter-change at N-55 along with ramps, loops, road furniture and allied facilities.

Indus 21 Water Sector Capacity building and Advisory Services Project with revised PCII was approved at the rationalised cost of Rs7659.06 million. The project is fully financed through IDA credit and shall be executed by PMPIU, WAPDA, IRSA, IPDF and Water section of Planning Commission. WCAP is a highly technical nature project aiming at improvement of water resources management investment planning of water resources in the Indus River Basin in order to strengthen Pakistan's water sector sustainability. According to Ministry of W&P the project is rated satisfactory by the World Bank.

ECNEC also considered and approved the construction of Expressway on East Bay of Gwadar Port at the rationalised cost of Rs.14062 million out of which Rs.13543 million is the FEC component. The executing agency will be Gwadar Port Authority, Ministry of Ports and Shipping, Government of Pakistan. The Project is one of the early harvest projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The project of New Gwadar International Airport got in principle approval at the revised cost of Rs26596 million with the direction from the chair that the additional work (extension of runway for other planes) will also be completed in this revised cost and report will be brought on this in the next ECNEC. The project has an FEC of Rs.2751 million and the financing sources are Federal PSDP through Chinese loan/ Omani Grant $17.5 million/ CAA own funds (10pc of the cost).

500KV Sub-station Faisalabad West project also got approval from ECNEC at the rationalised cost of Rs9379.505 million with Rs5690.771 million as the FEC. The main objective of the project is to enhance the capacity of NTDC system by construction of 500/220/132 kV substation at Faisalabad West in order to remove the transmission constraints of Faisalabad and its surrounding areas to meet the growing demand of FESCO.

 The Detail Design and Construction of Gorkin-Matiltan Hydro power project 84 MW with Revised PC I was also approved by ECNEC at the rationalised cost of Rs 20722.94 million. The project will bring in an annual income of 3522.08 million rupees after its completion in 6 years and 8 months. The cost of the project will be met 20pc by the Annual Development Programme and 80pc by loan from Hydel Development Fund of KP government. Pakhtunkhwa Hydel Development Organisation will be responsible for the execution, operation and maintenance of the project.