ECNEC Approves Rs. 189 Billion Chashma Right Bank Canal Project

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the construction of the Chashma Right Bank Canal project at the cost of Rs. 189.6 billion. The proposed canal is an off-taking from the Head Race channel of Chashingma Hydro Power Station at the right bank of the Chashma barrage.

ECNEC considered and approved a 500 kV Sialkot Substation project of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) at a total estimated cost of Rs. 31.8 billion. Project is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and is an addition of 2,250 megavolt-amperes (MVA) and 430 MVA capacity in the system.

ECNEC also approved the project on up-gradation of the existing 220 kV Vehari substation. The project cost is Rs. 17.1 billion including FEC of Rs. 9.5 billion subject to review of cost in the next three months. It is funded by French Development Agency (AFD) and scheduled to be completed in 41 months.

The meeting approved the Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarship for Afghan national students at a rationalized cost of Rs. 12.7 billion covering 4,500 scholarships. It also approved a project of the Ministry of Communication on Dualization and Rehabilitation of Karachi- Quetta- Chaman Road (N-25) from Karachi- Kararo and Wadh- Khuzdar for Rs. 74.7billion to be completed in 36 months.

The committee also approved the project of the Ministry of Communication on the Dualization of the Karao- Wadh section (83 kilometres) and Kuchlak- Chaman section (104 kilometres) for 67.6 billion to be completed in 18 months. The revised project envisages the construction of 153 kilometres long 2 –lane single carriageway starting from Chitral city and ending near Shandur.

The meeting also approved the revised Lowari Road Tunnel and Access Roads Project with a total rationalized cost of Rs. 27.9 billion. The Lowari tunnel is part of National Highway N-45 which originates from Nowshera, passes through Mardan, Malakand, and Chakdara and culminates at Chitral.

ECNEC also approved the Locust Emergency and Food Security project of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. The project will be implemented throughout Pakistan with an immediate focus on flood-affected areas. The objective of the project includes enhancing the country’s preparedness for combating future locust and other invasive pest attacks.

ECNEC approves Punjab’s project on Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation (PRIAT) at a total cost of Rs. 74.7 billion including a World Bank loan. The project will be implemented throughout Punjab in five years for the community –driven improvement of water conveyance and application, climate-smart high-value production and regenerative agriculture.

A feasibility study is a pre-requisite for the preparation of a major development project proposal on sound lines. Instructions to carry out Techno-Economic Feasibility Studies have been improved in the light of comments from the stakeholders. The ECNEC approved the recommendations of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) that:.

  1. All provinces should have a Project Development Facility (PDF) Fund for provincial ADPs for conducting the feasibility of the projects.
  2. Feasibilities should be carried out for all major cities, focusing on ring roads, wastewater treatments, urban mass transit etc. A stack of feasibility studies should be available to guide future investments.
  3. Improvements to the techno-economic feasibility framework/guidelines should be made in the light of comments of all key stakeholders before placing it for ECNEC approval.
  4. Instructions for conducting feasibility studies shall be made a part of the Development Manual.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra, Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari, Senator Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Federal Secretaries and other senior officers from federal and provincial governments.