ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Thursday announced that the government would spend Rs600 billion on development projects in nine districts of Southern Balochistan in next three years to improve the living standard of local people.
Out of the total, the federal government will provide Rs540 billion, while the rest would be spent by the Balochistan government.
Addressing a press briefing here along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Minister for Defense Production Zubaida Jalal, and Minister for Communication Murad Saeed, he said the government would also engage the private sector in some development projects in the area.
Asad said this package was prepared under the special direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had firm belief in raising the weaker segment of society.
“The country’s historic package has been prepared with an integrated strategy to ensure that the people belonging to all segments of society should benefit from this package,” he added.
The minister hoped that after completion of this programme, the most impoverished area of the country would see prosperity and it would become a practical example of PM Imran Khan’s vision of Naya Pakistan.
In the past, he said the approach of allocating money for development projects was different and that was not integrated; however now ‘we have embarked upon a new system under which all the sectors and ministries will be engaged collectively,” he said. For instance, Asad said in Southern Balochistan, agriculture was the most important source of income for locals for which they needed water. He said dams would be built to meet the water need of the area people.
He said under the package the government will provide electricity to over 57 percent population of the area and for that off-grid electricity option will also be implemented to provide electricity to the scattered population of the area,” he added.
Similarly, the government would build 16 new dams which will irrigate about 150,000 acre of land.
Besides he said around 640,000 children would be given distance education and they would be connected to the teachers in big cities.
Under Waseela Taleem prgramme, as many as 83,000 children would be given free education and the government would also pay stipends of Rs1,500 and Rs2,000 to the parents of boys and girls respectively on monthly basis.
Asad Umar maintained that in health sector, 200 health centers would be upgraded.
Similarly, he said, 35,000 youths of the area would be given training to earn as a freelancer.
He informed that the area was suitable for olive and date cultivation so the government would establish an olive processing unit and three date processing units to make the local farmers able to add value to their produce.
Under the Sehat Nashonuma programme, the minister said conceived mothers and newborn babies would be provided with required food so that the problem of stunting could be prevented.
Similarly, under this programme, billions of rupees would also be spent on road projects to connect the area with the rest of the country, he added.
Replying to a question, Asad Umar said, “Contrary to the past, we have not only identified development projects, but we are also going to establish an integrated governance structure, which will ensure timely implantation of the projects.
“Replying to another query, he said first the government had announced package for erstwhile FATA, then for Karachi and now it announced a package for South Balochistan.
“After this, we will look at Northern Balochistan, Interior Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan so that Imran Khan’s vision of providing equal opportunities to all segment of societies and areas in the country can be fulfilled”, he maintained.
Meanwhile, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong Thursday vowed to work together to make the second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a success.
Nong Rong called on Asad Umar here and discussed matters related to bilateral relations projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, especially those related to Industrial Cooperation.
They expressed satisfaction over the JWGs meetings held in the recent weeks, for various sectors and agreed to work together to make the second phase of CPEC a success.
Asad welcomed the ambassador on his new assignments and extended best wishes for his endeavors.
He said the China-Pakistan relationship extended beyond the government to government cooperation, as the bond between the peoples of the two countries was also very strong.
The Chinese ambassador thanked the minister and said his country also highly valued its relationship with Pakistan and it would be his endeavor to build on the work done in the last many years.