ISLAMABAD - The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) approved projects worth one billion rupees while twelve projects worth Rs 60 billion were recommended to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for approval.

“Public money should be spent prudently through a transparent mechanism as we are answerable for every rupee to the people of Pakistan,” Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Professor Ahsan Iqbal remarked as he chaired meeting of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in Islamabad on Thursday.

The CDWP considered 16 projects costing Rs. 66 billion including foreign aid of Rs. 5.6 billion. Out of 16 projects, 12 projects costing Rs 60 billion were recommended to ECNEC for approval.

The CDWP approved eight power projects “Augmentation and Extension of 132/11kV Transformers Power Distribution (Tranch-4) for IESCO, FESCO, PESCO, HESCO, GEPCO, MEPCO, LESCO and QESCO costing together Rs. 22.7 billion, to be funded with assistance of Rs. 4.5 billion from Asian Development Bank, for ECNEC approval. The main objective of the projects is to provide adequate facilities for reliable and stable supply of power and to meet the growing demand of domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers. Chairman CDWP directed M/o Water & Power to report to the CDWP the targets achieved under earlier 3 tranches vis-à-vis targets.

Meanwhile in Transport & Communication, the project “Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service (Islamabad Portion, length 13.656km) costing Rs. 23.6 billion was approved in principle subject to rationalization of cost and scope by a Committee headed by Secretary Cabinet Division with members from Capital Development Authority, Rawalpindi Development Authority, Finance Division and Chiefs of Sections T&C, Economic Appraisal and Environment of the Planning Commission. The Committee will also look into the feasibility study, environment impact assessment and economic viability of the project. The project will offer good connectivity and road infrastructure between the twin cities and benefit the commuters by providing better quality and environment friendly public transport system. The other project “Economic Corridor Support Project” costing Rs 743 million was also approved by the CDWP. Through this project, capacity building of public sector organizations will be ensured.

In water resources, project namely “Detailed engineering design & tender documents of Munda Dam” costing Rs 990 million was approved subject to the further rationalization of cost. The project is aimed at generation of 740MW of hydropower and storage of 1.29 MAF of water. Secretary M/o Water & Power was directed to hold an inquiry into expenditures incurred so far, and that special audit should be conducted, cost be rationalized by reducing it 10-15%. Report should be submitted to CDWP within one month.

Two projects of Physical Planning & Housing (PP&H) sector were considered by CDWP namely “PNRA Residential Colony at Chashma” costing Rs. 466 million and “Provision of Drinking Water to the Fishermen Communities along Coastline of Pasni and Ormara Sub - Divisions of Balochsitan (Revised) (Italian Dept Swap)” costing Rs. 586 million, and were approved by CDWP. The project aims to provide 0.35MGD to 35000 of fisherman communities. The project will be executed by Govt of Balochistan while funds will be paid by federal government.

In higher education, one project for award of 3000 scholarships to students from Afghanistan under the Prime Minister’s directive costing Rs. 6.2 billion was recommended to ECNEC for approval. Under this project, Afghan students would be provided scholarships in the discipline of medicines, dental, engineering both in public and private sector universities. The scholarships would cover all expenses including air travel. The minister directed that a committee should review the criteria for selection of programs of study and institutions to ensure merit and transparency in the scheme.

In education, the projects “Establishment and Operation of Basic Education Community School (BECS) in the country” costing Rs 4.4 billion and “Improving Human Indicator in Pakistan (NCHD) with focus on MDGs relating to Education and Six EFA Goals (revised)” costing Rs. 6 billion were considered by CDWP. BECS project is aimed at establishment and operation of 20,000 basic education community schools and establishment of 2500 literacy and skill development centers. Project will increase enrollment of children in primary schools and increase the literacy rate. The project was recommended to ECNEC for approval. However, the chairman CDWP directed that the employees of both the programmes should only be regularized on merit, after observing government rules like provincial quota, clearance from FPSC etc. Furthermore, in case of NCHD, the CDWP directed the M/o Education & Training to evaluate the programme. After evaluation, the project may again be submitted for consideration of CDWP.