ISLAMABAD-The government is considering various off-grid solutions to provide electricity to various far-flung areas of south Balochistan.

A meeting of various ministries and division on south and less developed areas of Balochistan was held with Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar in the chair.

The meeting was attended by Abdul Razzak Dawood, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile Industry and Investment, Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Energy, Zobaida Jalal, Minister for Defence Production, Nadeem Babar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum, Syed Shahzad Qasim, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Power, Ehsan Reki, MNA and Dr. Mohammad Jehenzeb Khan, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

Mathar Niaz Rana, Secretary, Planning, Development and Special Initiatives briefed the forum about the background and vision of the government regarding accelerated development of the less developed areas of Balochistan. He also shared the details of recent visit of the area and urged the line agencies to prepare the requisite development programme on top priority to facilitate the public of the Balochistan. 

Ministry of Energy briefed the meeting on power supply in Balochistan and various off-grid solutions to cater for the scattered population of the area. Minister for Energy informed that a project to connect the area with national grid is already under execution besides various other PSDP funded power related projects. 

The concerned Ministries/Divisions presented the concepts of identified projects of Balochistan. The program focuses on social sector, food security, water sector, energy, tourism, social uplift, employment generation, digital coverage, infrastructure development and regional connectivity of less developed area of Balochistan. 

Chairman, NHA said that they will carry out identified roads projects located in Balochistan for improving connectivity as per vision of the government. Minister for Planning directed NHA to execute all federal roads coming under the NHA. Minister for Planning said that since the population of the districts of Khuzdar and Turbat has increased manifold, functional airports are the need of the hour which will not only serve its populace but also nearby cities and districts.

Ministry of Energy briefed the meeting on power supply in Balochistan and various off-grid solutions to cater for the scattered population of the area. Minister for Energy informed that a project to connect the area with national grid is already under execution besides various other PSDP funded power related projects. 

Ministry of Water committed to conduct detailed mapping and management of water resources in Balochistan. Asad Umar emphasized that we have to focus on harnessing water resources of Balochistan for agriculture and livestock development for provisions of livelihoods. 

Ministry of National Food Security & Research presented the key interventions for agriculture, livestock and fisheries, promotion of low and high delta crops etc. Secretary, M/o PD &SI asked the ministry to devise the plan with delineating what to be done privately and where government has to do it. 

Ministry of IT also discussed the development initiatives for the area. They said that Ministry of IT & Telecom has launched several voice/data and optic fiber cable projects to improve digital connectivity. Minister for Planning said that we should target much bigger number in Balochistan to make it a hub of freelancing community.

Secretary, Ministry of PD&SI urged Ministry of National Health, Interior, IPC, HEC and NDRA to devise a strategy for provision of health infrastructure’ manpower, registration and immigrations facilities. He also emphasized on MoI for provision of Rahdari facility with Iran at border on crossing points. Provision of sports facilities in the area was also discussed. Secretary, M/o PD&SI asked Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division to establish Panagahs and also revisit the threshold to access financial support under Ehsaas programme.