Islamabad     -        Senate committee while taking notice of the diversion of Rs 24 billion out of Rs 27 billion under the head of special initiatives of CPEC towards discretionary programme for parliamentarians asked the planning ministry to provide details of the projects where this money was re-allocated.

Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Reforms that met under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani here discussed the re-allocation of CPEC funds to other programmes, renewable energy projects, M8 motorway and Nai Gaj dam.

Regarding re-allocation of Rs 24 billion out of Rs 27 billion under the head of special initiatives of CPEC towards other programmes, the Committee was told by Secretary planning that this money was not allocated for CPEC projects but was targeted at other projects of national development under SDGs. The Committee sought details of the projects where this money was re-allocated and directed the ministry of planning development and reforms to take the information from cabinet division and submit to the committee before next meeting so it can be discussed in presence of the mover, Senator Raza Rabbani.

Regarding the present status of Nai Gaj dam, the committee was told that according to the formula 50 percent funding will be provided by the federal government and the remaining 50 % by the beneficiary province which is Government of Sindh in this case. But Sindh has not given any commitment as of today regarding its share of payment. The Committee decided to call Chief Secretary Sindh and Secretary Irrigation Sindh in the next meeting to take their point of view.

On M-8 Ratodero to Khuzdar Motorway project, the Committee was told by Member West NHA that 90 % work is completed with 7 out of eight bridges are functional. The Committee was told that the initial cost of the complete project from Gwadar to Ratodero was 23 billion for 900 km length and due to a number of reasons presently it stays at 38.026 billion for 450 km since half the length of M-8; the Hoshab-Khuzdar section was removed from the project and realigned.

On wind and solar energy projects the committee was informed that as of today 24 wind power projects are in place under the 2006 policy and these projects are in Thatta district of Sindh because on ground data was available there. It was told that some areas in Balochistan have high potential of wind power generation but those areas are not yet connected with the grid. The Committee was told that 15 more projects are under development and they also have projects in Balochistan as surveys have been conducted in the last three years. 6 solar power projects and 8 biomass projects are also functional at present, the committee was told. Members of the Committee observed that renewable energy resources have become common in other countries and Pakistan is lagging behind in having an efficient energy mix which should have had 25% share of renewable energy by now. Incentivising private sector and overseas Pakistanis was recommended by the committee. The ministry told the committee that the revised policy coming by the end of this year has these incentives incorporated.