Islamabad-Member National Assembly committee on Planning Ahsan Iqbal has Tuesday asked WAPDA to provide the details of financial closure of Basha Dam as they don’t want the project to become another Neelum Jhelum project which was delayed inordinately. “Wapda should tell us whether financial closure of Diamir Basha has been achieved or not?” MNA Ahsan Iqbal said while expressing his views during 10th meeting of the Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives. The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of MNA Junaid Akbar. MNA Ahsan Iqbal said that they don’t want Basha Dam project to become another Neelum Jhelum project which was delayed inordinately.

The committee also shown reservation over the reduction in HEC allocations and said “why, it is so that HEC’s budget has been freezed at Rs29 Billion, while it was Rs47 billion in 2018” Ahsan iqbal also questioned that how the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company was established as in the past, a former Chief Justice had ordered the closure of all such companies in Punjab. Officials of the Cabinet Division informed that the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company is working under the cabinet division. Ahsan Iqbal said that why there are two different laws prevailing in the Centre and Provinces. Why a company which is Halal in Federal government has become Haram in Punjab, he questioned?

The officials of the cabinet division further informed that the green line project will become operational next year May or June. The operations of Green Line Bus system has been handed over to Sindh Infrastructure Development Company. Sindh government doesn’t have the capability to operate the Green Line project. Eighty buses are being purchased for the Green Line project, it was informed. In Tharparkar 42 RO plants are being installed. Sindh Infrastructure Development Company has utilised Rs27 billion. He said that Dasu and Basha projects are as much important as nuclear project. He said that the PC-I of Basha dam was prepared during PML-N tenure.

Kohistan Deputy Commissioner briefed committee about the status of previous recommendations pertaining to Dasu Dam. However, the Committee asked for provision of soft/hard copy of briefing but the Deputy Commissioner could not produce the documents, therefore the Committee showed its displeasure over non provision of documents in time. The Committee also directed the Ministry if any person comes to attend the Committee meeting without proper working papers, his briefing will not be acceptable and the department should not grant him any kind of TA/DA etc.

Mansehra Deputy Commissioner while briefing about the proposed Mansehra Airport told that the funds were granted by Civil Aviation through PSDP but the work has not been started up till now. The Committee asked as to why the affectees of the proposed area of Airport are still not given any compensation and why the funds granted by CAA has still been kept in the account of Mansehra D.C? The Committee directed that these funds should be utilised in another project with the consultation of Hon. Members of the National Assembly of the area, Committee will provide cooperation in this regard.

The Committee asked Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives that how the PSDP funds are being allocated for different areas and also explain the criteria of allocation, if any. Further committee asked that (i) How many new initiatives have been taken by the Ministry during the last two years to enhance the productivity and economic growth, (ii) Why HEC’s budget has been freezed at Rs29 billion, while it was 47 Billion Rupees in 2018, (iii) DDWP’s (Departmental Development Working Party) project approval limit has been enhanced up-to Rs2 billion; what kind of impact it has created on efficiency of the ministries and their project cycle. How much cost rationalisation has been made during this year at DDWP level, (iv) How planning Commission/Ministry is working without having full time Chief Economist since 2018 and who is performing his role at the moment, (v) How many Members have been hired so far and what is their contribution for the development of their respective sectors, (vi) Does Minister for Planning have any 3-5 years plan to augment/enhance the capacity of the Ministry/Planning Commission and (vii) Why the 13th Five year plan has not been rolled out despite its 1st draft has been approved by the National Economic Council in May, 2018.

Thereafter, the Cabinet Division and Ministry of Housing and Works also briefed the Committee about their PSDP projects. However, the Committee showed its displeasure over non attendance of the meeting by Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman in person. Therefore, the Committee deferred the briefing of HEC and directed Secretary, Committee to launch a privilege motion against the HEC Chairman to the concerned quarter.