CWDP clears seven development projects worth Rs 115.80b

ISLAMABAD: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has cleared seven development projects worth Rs 115.80 billion. The forum, which met here on Thursday, considered seven projects related to the Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Housing and Works, Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives and Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The meeting, which was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal, was also attended by Secretary PD&SI, Chief Economist, Members Planning Commission and representatives from the various ministries.

As per details the forum has approved National Programmer Post -Flood Reconstruction: Climate Resilience Enhancement Project in Balochistan & other provinces at the cost of Rs 88,000 million, Strengthening of Labs in 5 leading Universities UET, Peshawar, Taxila, Lahore, Khuzdar and NED, Karachi at the cost of Rs 6,636.506 m, Construction of National Sport City NSC at Narowal (Revised third PC) at the cost of Rs 5,760.660m, Construction of Yarik-Tank Road, DI Khan Development Package at the cost of Rs 4,418.430m, Competitive Grants Program for Policy Oriented Research at the cost of Rs 1,756.000m, Improvement/ Widening of Spera Ragha Road From Kanozai Cross to Loralai Kill Saifullah Road at the cost of Rs 6,136.838m and Innovation Center & Innovation Park at UET, Lahore Sub campus at the cost of Rs 2,966.486m.

According to the details, the CDWP has approved a project National Programmer Post-Flood Reconstruction: Climate Resilience Enhancement Project in Balochistan & other provinces at the cost of Rs 88,000 million. The Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives will be a sponsoring agency of the project. The fed government will obtain a loan from the World Bank (WB) and transfer to the govt of Balochistan as a grant-in-aid.

The project will consist of four components which include rehabilitation and reconstruction of community infrastructure including irrigation, drainage, flood protection, roads, WASH and other community facilities; reconstruction of damaged housing units; livelihood support, natural resources and watershed management and institutional strengthening and reform units. Similarly, a federal project steering committee to be co-chaired by Minister MoPDSI & Chief Minister Balochistan will provide policy guidance and monitor overall project and its implementation.

“Balochistan has been hit hard by the devastating floods and the provincial government faces financial constraints and can’t finance post-flood recovery and rehabilitation efforts on its own,” said Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, while approving the project. The federal government has decided to get a loan from the WB and provide Balochistan as a grant-in-aid. “We want to assure the people of Balochistan that the federal government stands with them in this time of crisis and is committed to taking all possible steps to address pressing socio-economic issues,” remarked the Minister.

The forum has approved Construction of National Sport City NSC at Narowal (Revised third PC) at the cost of Rs 5,760.660. The Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) is the sponsoring agency of the project while Pakistan Sports Board will execute the project. The project is for construction of an International Standard Sports Complex having facilities for all the games at one location at a 3rd revised cost of Rs 5760.660 million. All the infrastructure and facilities will be at par with latest international standards and capable of holding international, regional and national level championships/sports events for almost all indoor and outdoor games.

The scope of the revised project consists of construction of cricket stadium with pavilion and seating area, football ground with athletic track, pavilion and seating arrangement, hockey ground with synthetic turf and seating capacity, squash courts with seating steps, two tennis courts, one volleyball court, gymnasium, one basketball court, kabaddi court and covered swimming pool with allied facilities, mosque and others. The project was close to completion in 2017 but the previous government was stopped as a result the cost has increased from Rs 2994.329m to Rs 5,760.660m.

The forum was informed that the project would have been completed within the approved cost if its funding would not have been stopped in 2018. Due to lack of funding the contractors were demobilized and warranties on many items expired. Therefore, because of a delay of 4 years, on account of price escalation, contractor’s claims and repairs due to damages. An additional cost of Rs 2.1 billion shall be incurred which has been verified by the Consultants NESPAK and ZEERAK and the Minister of Inter provincial coordination.

During the meeting the minister observed that responsibility should be fixed against the responsible people who deliberately delayed the project which caused a huge loss to the national exchequer. Who is responsible for the huge loss to the national exchequer and they must be punished, said the Minister, adding that the Ministry of Planning Commission will prepare a reference against the responsible people and send it to the Public Account Committee for action.

During the meeting, the Minister also observed that due to escalation of cost the claims of the contractors must be verified and in this regard a committee will be formed to verify the claims made by the contractors.

The IPC Ministry did not release the funds despite having sufficient funds in 2017, said the Minister while regretting that the public interest project was victimized for political reasons. The Minister also asked the Ministry of IPC to complete the remaining work of the project so that inauguration could be possible in March 2023.

The forum has cleared a project Strengthening of Labs in 5 leading Universities UET, Peshawar, Taxila, Lahore, Khuzdar and NED, Karachi at the cost of Rs 6,636.506m. The key objective of the project is to upgrade the lab equipment of the engineering universities of Pakistan to the students with modern, updated equipment enabling improvement in the research and development of the country.

During the meeting, the Minister directed HEC to engage a procurement consultant to ensure the maximum cost of the equipment which will be used in the labs and every university is directed to ensure the proper maintenance of the equipment.

The project was close to completion in 2017 but the previous government stopped the funding of the project and initiated a NAB reference against the then Minister Planning, Ahsan Iqbal and officials. Islamabad High Court quashed the reference declaring that there was no sign of corruption against Minister Ahsan Iqbal and NAB exceeded its limits to arrest him

The Minister also observed that every engineering university should make a 5-year road map in line with global practices and their monitoring should be evaluated. Similarly, the CDWP also approved the Innovation Center & Innovation Park project at UET Lahore Sub campus at the cost of Rs2,966.486m.

The CDWP also cleared the Competitive Grants Program for Policy Oriented Research at the cost of Rs 1,756.000. The Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives is the sponsoring agency of the project while Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) will execute the project across Pakistan. The core function of PIDE is advising the government through policy-oriented research on critical economic development and public policy issues.

Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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