ECNEC approves Rs175bn to settle Diamer-Basha land issues

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Thursday approved Rs175.43 billion to address land and resettlement issues pertaining to the Diamer-Basha Dam Project.

In total, the ECNEC meeting, which was held under the chair of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, approved four projects worth Rs250 billion.

The ECNEC considered the Diamer-Basha Dam Project (acquisition of land and resettlement) and accorded it an in-principle approval with the instruction to the Planning Division to further rationalise cost on the ‘pay and allowance component’ of the project.

Under the project, around 30,350 people that are being displaced from 4,102 households within the project area would be resettled, while acquisition of 35,924 acres of land would also be ensured.

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Besides, the provision of health facilities, establishment of educational institutions and improvement/implementation of Cultural Heritage Management Plan, Fisheries Management Plan, Camp Management Plan, Business Restoration Plan, livelihood interventions, social safety net, and socioeconomic research studies would be undertaken/completed under the project.

Meanwhile, the meeting approved Rs12.434 billion for the construction of Lodhran-Multan Section (62 kms) of N-5 as well as construction of two flyovers at Lodhran Bypass.

The project, which would be completed in 24 months, aims to reduce traffic hazard and congestion and provide the commuters with a safe, reliable and efficient road facility.

Moreover, the ECNEC approved a project titled ‘Punjab Human Capital Investment Project’ at a cost of Rs32 billion to strengthen primary health facilities, introduce conditional cash transfer programme to encourage access to health and nutrition, support economic inclusion of young parents for poverty alleviation and expand and strengthen early childhood education.

The project, to be completed in five years, would be rolled out in 11 less-developed districts of Punjab, including Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Bhakkar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Khushab, Layyah, Lodhran, Mianwali, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur.

Lastly, ECNEC approved Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Irrigated Agriculture Improvement Project (KP-IAIP) at Rs30 billion to improve 14,260 watercourses, installation of 10,000 acres high-efficiency irrigation system, construction of 5,000 water storage tanks, provision of 500 laser land levellers, capacity building, strategic studies and value addition, project management and monitoring.

The project, to be completed in six years, would be rolled out in all 26 districts of the province.

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