ISLAMABAD -  A Senate sub-committee on Thursday observed that India was providing natural gas and electricity to its citizens living in areas bordering Pakistan and Pakistan government should also ensure the same facilities to its border area residents.

Parliamentarians mainly from both Punjab and Sindh demanded of the government to ensure basic necessities such as electricity and gas to the regions bordering India.

The demand came at a meeting of the Senate Sub-Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms, held under the chair of Senator Karim Ahmad Khawaja.

The sub-committee also discussed the progress so far made on the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and K-4, a water supply project for the Karachi.

Senator Kareem Khawaja said that India was providing electricity and gas to its citizens residing in the border areas, Pakistan should also ensure these facilities in those areas. He also demanded to provide gas and electricity to Tharparkar, Umarkot and Badin which also border India. Senator Mohsin Laghari said that gas and electricity should not only be provided to Sindh’s bordering areas but also to the bordering areas of Punjab.

The sub-committee was informed that the KCR project has been approved by the Central Development Working Party and it would be presented to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for final approval.

Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms Secretary Shoaib Siddique told the meeting that project would be executed as soon as the ECNEC approved it. He said that it was a provincial project and the Chinese government would fully finance it, adding that the federal government was the guarantor.

He said work on the K-4 water supply project for Karachi was under progress and both federal and provincial governments were very keen to complete it at the earliest. “Both the governments are interested in completing the project within the stipulated time to facilitate the citizens of the mega city,” he said.

He told the meeting that the project would be completed at a cost of Rs25 billion, whereas the expenditure would equally be shared by the federal and provincial governments.

The secretary said that so far about Rs3.1 billion had been spent on the project and of the total expenditure, Rs2.5 billion was provided by the federal government in last financial year.

Siddiqui said that the government has also earmarked Rs9 billion in its current Public Sector Development Programme for the project. 

Ports and Shipping Additional Secretary told the meeting that work for the East-Way Expressway was awarded to a Chinese company. He said that the total cost of the project had been estimated at Rs1950 million and would be completed by 2020.

Senators Muhammad Mohsin Leghari and Saeed-ul-Hassan Mandokhail, senior officials of planning ministry and other high-ups were also present.