ECNEC approves 10bn trees tsunami, BRT Red Line Karachi

–Meeting also approves development projects worth Rs579bn

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved the next phase of 10 Billion Trees Tsunami Programme and BRT Red Line project for Karachi, along with various other projects worth Rs375.436 billion.

ECNEC, during its meeting held on Thursday, approved total projects worth Rs579 billion which were aimed at enhancing agriculture productivity, improving water management, making Pakistan green, giving Karachi a facelift and introducing decentralised decision-making.

The ECNEC meeting chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Revenue & Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh also approved National Programme for Improvement of Watercourse in Pakistan Phase-II to be undertaken in all federating units at a cost of Rs154.542 billion for capacity building of 76,359 Water User Associations for participatory irrigation management, improvement of 59,427 watercourses across the country and construction of 16,932 water storage tanks and ponds at the farm level with the larger goal of curbing water losses, social mobilisation through capacity building of Water Users Associations, minimisation of conveyance and field application losses, reduction in water-logging and salinity, equity in water distribution, reduction in water disputes, thefts and litigations, poverty reduction through employment generation and increase in crop yields and sufficiency in food.

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The ECNEC further approved eight major projects related to the agriculture sector at a cost of Rs95 billion, including productivity enhancement of wheat at Rs30.455 billion, productivity enhancement of rice at Rs15.789 billion, productivity enhancement of sugarcane at Rs4.935 billion, National Oilseeds Enhancement Programme (NOEP) at Rs10.963 billion, Cage Culture Cluster Development Programme at Rs9.081 billion, Pilot Shrimp Farming Cluster Development Project at Rs6.160 billion, water conservation in Barani areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) at Rs14.178 billion and prime minister’s initiative of saving the calf at Rs3.401 billion.

The ECNEC approved 10 Billion Trees Tsunami Programme Phase-1, up-scaling of Green Pakistan Programme at a cost of Rs125.184 billion for plantation of 3.30 billion saplings, including 10 per cent fruit trees, across Pakistan to promote eco-tourism, conserve and develop forests, increase income of local people from the sale of forest products, increase rangelands and pastures, enhance protective functions of watersheds for regulating their water regime, promote local flora and fauna and manage national wildlife parks, sanctuaries and national biosphere reserves.

The ECNEC also approved construction of BRT Red Line project in Karachi at a cost of Rs78.384 billion to develop a dedicated corridor of 24.2 km from Numaish to Malir Halt Depot and a common corridor of 2.4 km from Municipal Park to Merewether Tower along M A Jinnah Road with a view to enhancing the quality of public transport, shift motor vehicle users to public transport and reduce traffic congestion in the city. Out of the total 26.6 km length of corridor, 22.45 km would be at grade section, 1.72 km elevated and 2.43 km underground section. The project also includes construction of 29 bus stations, eight off-corridor routes, including direct and feeder services, procurement of 199 buses using bio-methane gas from cattle waste as fuel and comprising three types 9m, 12m and 18m, provision of ITS equipment and security systems and allied equipment.

The ECNEC also approved a 500 KV HVDC transmission system between Tajikistan and Pakistan for Central Asia-South Asia Transmission Interconnection (CASA-1000) project at a cost of Rs46.804 billion to provide reliable and uninterrupted power supply to consumer and to export any surplus power to other countries.

The ECNEC also approved Sehat Sahulat Programme covering 2.7 million families all over Pakistan at a cost of Rs31.935 billion to improve the health status of the population by providing it quality healthcare and enhancing coverage and access to secondary and priority indoor treatment of the poor and vulnerable population.

In order to improve water resources and quality of sewerage system in Karachi, the ECNEC also approved Karachi Water & Sewerage Services Improvement Project (KWSSIP) Phase-I at a cost of $105.21 million (Rs16.708 billion). The project will facilitate and improve the capacity of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board in the provision of improved water and sanitation services to the residents of Karachi and to carry out routine functions of operations and management of infrastructure and facilities.

The ECNEC also approved the Sindh Secondary Education Improvement Program (SSEIP) to be implemented all over Sindh at a cost of Rs13.103 billion for the construction of new secondary schools in 160 existing primary schools, to impart training to 2630 teachers in five major subjects and 485 BISE staff and to provide lab equipment to 660 schools.

The ECNEC also granted approval to a project for interconnection of isolated Gwadar/Makran Area with national Grid System of Pakistan at a cost of Rs17.421 billion to provide adequate facilities for reliable and stable supply of power to the Gwadar area.

The ECNEC also approved a proposal for revision of sanctioning powers of ECNEC for considering projects costing over Rs10 billion, CDWP for projects from Rs3 billion to Rs10 billion and federal level DDWP for projects from Rs60 million to Rs2 billion, and further allowed submission of the summary to the prime minister for implementation till a formal approval of the proposal by NEC.

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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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