ECNEC approves energy and education mega projects

In a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved various mega projects relating to climate change, energy, health, and higher education.

The ECNEC approved a proposal of the ministry of planning for the ‘Green Pakistan Programme – Revival of Forestry Resources in Pakistan’ at an estimated cost of Rs 3.6 billion.

The project aims at the plantation of indigenous and fast growing local tree species along canals and roadsides all over Pakistan. Olive and kikar phulai forests will be planted in Kala Chitta, Pabbi Rasul and Fort Monroe in Punjab, mangrove forests in Sindh, juniper in Balochistan, and various plantations to check erosion in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Projects of the expanded programme of immunization (EPI) Balochistan at a total cost of Rs 5 billion with a foreign exchange component of Rs 713.93 million, EPI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a total cost of Rs 6.5 billion including a foreign exchange component of Rs 1.2 billion and the Sindh Immunization Support Programme (SISP) at a total cost of Rs 8 billion including a foreign exchange component of Rs 2.7 billion were also approved by the ECNEC.

The ECNEC also allowed the finance division to release development funds for the already approved 1230 MW combined cycle power plant at Haveli Bahadur Shah and the 1223 MW combined cycle power plant at Balloki.

The meeting approved Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s proposal of a PhD scholarship programme under US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor (phase-1) at a rationalised cost of Rs 18.8 billion including a foreign exchange component of Rs 17.7 billion. Under this segment of the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor, the HEC will send 1500 Ph D students to top ranking US universities. The HEC will also provide counselling facilities to taking GRE and TOFEL candidates, as well as proposal writing advice to assist students in seeking admission in US universities.

The ECNEC has directed the HEC to ensure participation of students and scholars from all over the country.

The ECNEC has also approved the HEC’s proposal for the establishment of sub-campuses of public sector universities at the district level at a rationalised cost of Rs 5.2 billion. Under this project, campuses of universities will be set up in districts where no such facilities exist so far.

The meeting approved the compliance report on the Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project with direction to WAPDA to formulate proper policy guidelines in the light of the ministry of water and power recommendations and to adhere to the timelines.

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