Advancement of Development Projects in Pakistan Receives ECNEC’s Approval
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has granted its seal of approval to an extensive range of development projects, with a combined value exceeding Rs1.2 trillion. This significant decision, made during a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, marks a substantial step forward for Pakistan’s progress. The approved projects encompass various sectors and regions, showcasing the government’s commitment to fostering growth and enhancing infrastructure. Let’s delve into the key initiatives that obtained ECNEC’s endorsement and explore their potential impact.
1. Shunter Hydropower Project: Paving the Way for Sustainable Energy Generation
The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has received the go-ahead for the 48-megawatt Shunter Hydropower Project in the picturesque Neelum Valley. This venture, valued at Rs14.98 billion, will enjoy financial support from the esteemed Saudi Fund for Development, with 85 percent of the total cost amounting to Rs12.7369 billion. The remaining 15 percent will be financed through AJK’s annual development plan, solidifying the commitment to renewable energy generation. The Shunter Hydropower Project is set to play a pivotal role in meeting the region’s power demands while preserving the natural beauty of the Neelum Valley.
2. Regional Grids: Enhancing Energy Infrastructure in Gilgit-Baltistan
The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has proposed the establishment of regional grids in Astor, Gilgit, Hunza, and Skardu, marking the first phase of development in the region. With an estimated cost of Rs17.42 billion, this ambitious project aims to strengthen the energy infrastructure and cater to the increasing power needs of the local communities. Foreign funding, amounting to Rs1.824 billion, has been allocated to the project, subject to revision based on bidding, construction, and engineering estimates by the Ministry of Planning. The successful implementation of these regional grids will usher in a new era of reliable and sustainable electricity supply for Gilgit-Baltistan.
3. Shigarthing Hydropower Project: Reinforcing Skardu’s Energy Sector
Another project that garnered ECNEC’s approval is the revised plan for the 26-megawatt Shigarthing Hydropower Project, situated in Skardu district. With an estimated value of Rs18.37 billion, this initiative is poised to contribute significantly to Skardu’s energy sector. Notably, the project has secured foreign financing worth Rs4.461.03 billion, underscoring international recognition of its importance. The successful completion of the Shigarthing Hydropower Project will alleviate power shortages in the region and foster economic growth.
4. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rural Access Project: Connecting Communities for Progress
In a bid to enhance rural connectivity and facilitate access to markets, education, and healthcare facilities, ECNEC has greenlit the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rural Access Project. With a substantial investment of Rs69.40 billion, this ambitious initiative aims to rehabilitate the existing 768.4 km long rural road network. The World Bank (WB) has pledged its support, offering foreign aid and loans amounting to Rs67.20 billion. The Department of Communications and Construction will spearhead the project’s implementation across various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), ensuring the improved accessibility and socio-economic development of the region.
5. Greater Thal Canal Project (Phase-II): Progress Evaluation
ECNEC also dedicated significant time to reviewing the progress report on the Greater Thal Canal Project (Phase-II), which spans Leh, Bhakkar, and Khushab districts. The Planning Commission presented a comprehensive overview of the meetings held with the Governments of Punjab and Sindh regarding this substantial endeavor. The Greater Thal Canal Project aims to optimize irrigation capabilities and ensure water availability for agricultural purposes. By evaluating the progress made thus far, ECNEC underscores its commitment to effectively execute this project and provide sustainable solutions for agricultural development in the region.
Conclusion: A Promising Path towards Progress
The recent approval of development projects by ECNEC serves as a testament to Pakistan’s dedication to progress and growth. From the Shunter Hydropower Project in Neelum Valley to the establishment of regional grids in Gilgit-Baltistan, each initiative holds the potential to transform the respective regions positively. Moreover, the Shigarthing Hydropower Project, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rural Access Project, and Greater Thal Canal Project (Phase-II) are set to drive sustainable development, boost connectivity, and enhance agricultural practices. As these projects come to fruition, Pakistan is poised to realize its aspirations for a prosperous and resilient future.