Gilgit-Baltistan:Progress on Projects of GB Reviewed

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ISLAMABAD (D.Times): A high-level meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was informed here on Wednesday that connectivity of Skardu and Gilgit with the national grid would be completed with an estimated foreign funding of $100 million from the French Agency for Development.

Some 108 projects in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) with 137 megawatts (MW) generation capacity would be completed by 2016 with an estimated cost of Rs 137 billion.

Meeting was held at the PM’s House to review the progress on hydel power projects in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and GB with a view to accelerate the process of the completion of projects to meet the energy requirements of the people.

Gilani directed that the action plan should be implemented by the relevant ministries adding that the projects below the capacity of 50 MW should be completed on top priority basis.

Gilani directed the Ministry of Water and Power secretary to get Skardu and Gilgit connected with the national grid, which would smoothen the supply of electricity to a great deal.

Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Shakil Durrani apprised the meeting that the connectivity of Skardu and Gilgit with the national grid would be completed with an estimated foreign funding of $100 million from the French Agency for Development.

GB chief secretary said that there were 108 projects in GB with 137 MW generation capacity and they would be completed by 2016 with an estimated cost of Rs 137 billion. The Kashmir Affairs and GB Secretary stated during his presentation that there were seven ongoing projects in AJK, which would produce 11 MW of electricity and the projects would be completed by the end of this year.

He further said that the federal Public Sector Development Programme included three projects of hydel power generation which would be completed with an estimated cost of Rs 9.9 billion by 2016 and produce 55 MW of power.

The secretary further pointed out that the private sector has taken up two power projects, at Bong, Mirpur and Pathrand, Muzaffarabad, which would produce 231 MW of electricity.

He further pointed out that there was a very encouraging response from the investors on seven projects and the government was proactively undertaking the projects at the earliest.

Earlier, in his opening statement, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo congratulated the prime minister and his leadership on the unanimous passage of the 20th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2012, which would have positive effects on the democratic dispensation of the country. The unanimous enactment of the amendment had indeed raised the status of the politicians in the real sense, he said.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar, minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB, GB Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, Ministry of Water and Power secretary, EAD secretary, Kashmir Affairs and GB secretary, GB chief secretary, WAPDA chairman and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

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