17pc pensioners converted from PPO to DCS system

ISLAMABAD (APP):  The office of the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) has so far transferred just 17.08 percent of its pensioners from pension payment order (PPO) system to Direct Credit System (DCS). Out of the total 329,079 pensioners, only 56,228 have been converted to DCS system while 272,841 are yet to be transferred to the new system, including 145,737 pensioners of civil armed forces or district account offices and agency account offices, official data revealed. The highest number of pensioners have been converted from AGPR Islamabad, where out of total 23533 pensioners, 44867 have been converted to new system which is 52pc of the total. According to the data, 36pc of pensioners have been converted to DCS system from AGPR sub-office Karachi, as out of 32022 pensioners, 11412 have been converted to new system. Similarly, out of 28846 pensioners of AGPR sub-office Lahore, 10316 have been converted to new system which is 27pc of the total whereas from Peshawar 2947 out of 13474 have been converted to DCS system which is 22 percent.

Out of total 3571 pensioners of Quetta, 1750 have been converted to DCS system, which is 49 percent of the total, whereas from AGPR sub-office of Gilgit Biltastan, 38 percent which constitute 81 pensioners out of 212 pensioners have been converted. From the Punjab DAOs, out of total 9616 pensioners, 2105 have been converted to new system.

It is pertinent to mention that out of total 145737 pensioners of civil armed forces, district account offices and agency account offices, no one has been so far converted to DCS system. In terms of civilian pensioners, out of the total 18332 pensioners, 56228 have been converted to DCS, which is 31 percent of the total, the data revealed.

Official sources said that the AGPR was working with stakeholders to put a competent system in place to convert the pensioners of civil armed forces to the DCS system as soon as possible. They were of the view that overall conversion of all the pensioners to the DCS system may take about two years to complete.

 Tarbela 4th extension project 1st unit to start generation on Feb 25

ISLAMABAD (APP): As many as 91.88 percent work has been completed on the Tarbela 4th extension power project so far and its first unit (470 MW) will start generation on February 25. Talking to APP, Tarbela project director Shoail Khan said, “Over all physical work on the project has reached at 91.88 percent so far.” Dry testing would be conducted on January 25 while wet testing would start on January 26, he said. He said that the 2nd unit (470 MW) would start generation by April 25, followed by third unit (470 MW) on May 30, he said. He said that the project would cost $920 million and additional 1410 MW cheaper hydel electricity would be generated. Sohail Khan said that the World Bank had provided $840 million for the project while Water and Power Development Authority arranged the remaining $80 million. He said that three units of 470 MW each were being installed at the power house which would enhance the total electricity generation to 4888 MW from the existing 3478 MW.

Dilating upon the benefits of the project, he said that the project having three units of 470MW each would produce 3,840GWh of cheap hydropower at a time when electricity needs would be at peak in hot and humid weather.

Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at around Rs30.7 billion. The project will pay back its cost in just three years.

 Pak-China cultural caravan to boost tourism: PTDC

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director Abdul Ghafoor said that Pakistan and China artist's joint cultural caravan will boost cultural tourism on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route. Highlighting the importance of the caravan in exploring cultural diversity of the two friendly countries, he said that the game-changer CPEC would not only unleash economic, cultural tourism dividends, but also help discover and foster cultural heritage, ancient Silk Route had been preserving for centuries. He said that the programmes like CPEC cultural caravan should be held more frequently as art has no religion or language and it has the power to bring people from diverse backgrounds together. He said that the cultural tourism allows travelers to be immersed in local rituals and routines, taking away not only pretty photos but also shared memories of unique experiences. “For destinations, it encourages local communities to embrace their culture and boosts economic growth.

Developing culturally geared tourism programs encourages destinations to celebrate and promote what distinguishes their communities and in doing so, provides the opportunity for authentic cultural exchange between locals and visitors,” he said.

The PTDC managing director said that there is a general perception that cultural tourism is ’good’ tourism that attracts high spending visitors and does little damage to the environment or local culture while contributing a great deal to the economy and support of culture.

 Indus River System Authority releases 33,800 cusecs water

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on Sunday released 33,800 cusecs water from various rim stations with inflow of 33,300 cusecs. According to the data released by IRSA, water level in the Indus River at Tarbela Dam was 1448.74 feet, which was 68.74 feet higher than its dead level of 1,380 feet. Water inflow in the dam was recorded as 17,100 cusecs and outflow as 22,000 cusecs. The water level in the Jhelum River at Mangla Dam was 1109.30 feet, which was 69.30 feet higher than its dead level of 1,040 feet whereas the inflow and outflow of water was recorded as 4,500 cusecs and 1,000 cusecs respectively. The release of water at Kalabagh, Taunsa and Sukkur was recorded as 25,700, 29,700 and 4,600 cusecs respectively. Similarly from the Kabul River, 6,200 cusecs of water was released at Nowshera and 5,500 cusecs from the Chenab River at Marala.