Senate committee summons all concerned on 10bln tree project

October 16, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiative has summoned the Ministry of Climate Change, representatives of all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad...

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiative has summoned the Ministry of Climate Change, representatives of all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir to probe the flagship Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project of the sitting government.

The committee met under the chairmanship of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, who also sought a comprehensive briefing on all the specific and major projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) in the next meeting. Ministry of Planning officials said 75 percent of the PSDP went to small projects, on which Mandviwalla and members of the committee showed discontent, and urged provincial governments to take up the small projects on their own as per the 18th Amendment.

The committee decided to call the provincial PSDPs’ in the next meeting to get a clearer picture of these projects.

Regarding the matter of non-issuance of license by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to National Logistic Cell (NLC) for operating border terminals, he assured of penning a letter to the FBR and taking up the matter with the relevant authority. NLC COO apprised the committee that currently they were operating the border terminals via executive order. To know about the condition of roads in the country and other related projects, the chairman also expressed his intent to call officials of National High Authority in the next meeting.

The meeting also considered the progress made on its recommendations made at the previous meeting on August 6, 2021.

It was informed that a sub-committee was to be formed when the special report by the committee on the futility of PSDP recommendations by the senate was laid in the house.

Consideration on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (Amendment) Bill 2021, moved by Senator Raza Rabbani and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (Amendment) Bill 2021, moved by Senator Sherry Rehman were deferred due to non-availability of the movers in Islamabad.

Planning Ministry officials informed that out of 1,155 PSDP projects amounting to Rs9,422 billion, 710 projects were ongoing, while 445 were new. The estimated cost of the ongoing and new projects is Rs7,278 billion and Rs2,144 billion, respectively.

To know the exact breakup of these projects the committee asked for the ageing of the allocated budget and overall projects. While briefing the committee regarding the sectorial breakup of PSDP 2021-22, the officials apprised that 62 percent of the budget was allocated for infrastructure, and 20 percent for the social sector.

They also informed that the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami programme had a physical progress of 31 percent (expected completion June 30, 2023). The chairman asked for proof regarding the massive plantation drive if it is done through PSDP. Committee members plan to visit places which were barren before the 10 billion tree programme, with Senator Danesh Kumar revealing only 0.006 percent saplings were planted in Balochistan, despite the province making up 45 percent of total land in the country.

The committee called for effective monitoring and evaluation of the flagship project.

The committee was also informed that Rs46 billion had been allocated for SDG Projects. The Chairman committee also sought a detailed briefing from the ministry on 8 major PSDP projects in the next meeting.

Senator Kauda Babar raised the issue of power supply and water in Gwadar and Makran Division, for which the committee summoned officials of the Balochistan government and Gwadar Port Authority in the next meeting.

Senator Saadia Abbasi briefed about the National Logistic Board (NLB), and recommended that MPs should also be given representation in NLB, which was seconded by Mandviwalla.

On the issue of Sibi-Harnai railway track, which was laid down but not operational, the chairman said he would write a letter to Railway Minister Senator Azam Khan Swati to start the track. In the power sector, Planning Ministry officials informed Tarbela fourth extension had a physical progress of 99 percent with expected completion date of December 2022, whereas the fifth extension (1,410MW) had a physical progress of only 2 percent, with expected completion in June 2025.

Diamer Basha project progress of land acquisition and re-settlement was at 72 percent, while dam progress was at 4 percent. Mangla Power station Refurbishment (310MW) had a physical progress of 48 percent (expected completion June 2024). Similarly, Dasu Hydropower project stage-1 (2,160MW) had a progress of 15 percent (expected completion February 2025), with Mohmand Multipurpose Dam project progress at 9 percent (expected completion Dec 2025).



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