Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to launch a Rs581 billion South Punjab development package to upgrade the ruined infrastructure, improve the power supply system, strengthen universities and give access to information technology.
About 122 projects have been picked, which include schemes that have been approved in recent time but lack financing and launching of new projects with public as well as private sector investment, showed the details.
The premier is keen to launch the projects ahead of no-confidence move against him and the Planning Minister Asad Umar has written to the Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar to complete any remaining consultations with the stakeholders.
Although the launching of the package has been expedited, the work on the Rs581 billion initiative had been underway for the past many weeks, much before the opposition parties took a decision to bring a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan.
The package has been finalised with input from the government of Punjab, the South Punjab Secretariat and it has already been presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan last week during his visit to Lahore, according to the senior officials of the Planning Ministry.
Extensive consultations on these initiatives were carried out, in the last few months, said Asad Umar, the Planning Minister.
Many of the disgruntled members of the ruling party belong to the Southern Punjab and central Punjab districts. The government is also making efforts to bring these disgruntled members back in its fold.
South Punjab is the most neglected part of the Punjab province.
Of Rs581 billion, a major chunk of Rs182 billion will be spent on 44 projects. These schemes have been proposed by the government of Punjab, to be funded by the federal government. Another amount of Rs52 billion is being spent on 21 new schemes that are already approved in the past many months and are now funded out of the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
The federal government has also made 13 ongoing schemes valued Rs134 billion as part of the South Punjab package.
The Ignite and Universal Services Fund that are under the Ministry of Information Technology will finance another 39 schemes in the information technology sector with an investment of Rs51 billion.
About five projects having a value of Rs162 billion will be completed under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
However, the government may face difficulties in arranging adequate finances for timely completion of these schemes, particularly after a steep cut on the PSDP.
NEW PROJECTS: The provincial government has proposed Rs182 billion worth 44 projects that will be undertaken by the federal government. These include the expansion of 90-kilometer stretch of N-70 at D.G Khan with a Rs15.8 billion investment. The construction of D.G Khan southern bypass at Rs6.6 billion cost is also part of the new package.
Dualization of 139 km long road from Muzaffargarh to Taranda Muhammad Panah via Alipur & head Panjnad has also been included in the package that will be completed with Rs39 billion investment. The dualization of Vehari – Abdul Hakim Road with PSDP money of Rs13 billion is also made part of the new package.
The Dualization of head Muhammad Wala Bridge on River Chenab worth Rs7 billion, construction of a bridge on River Chenab connecting Khan Garh with Shujaabad costing Rs7.2 billion, construction of a bridge on River Chenab connecting Shaher Sultan with Jalalpur Pirwala worth Rs6.5 billion, construction of bridge on River Chenab at Mud Wala connecting Alipur with Jalalpur Pirwala Rs5.7 billion, Bahawalpur (N-5) Connectivity to Multan Sukkur Motorway Rs6 billion, construction of road from Garh Maharaja to Chowk Munda Rs5 billion and dualization of Multan–Shujaabad–Jalalpur Pirwala road Rs8.5 billion are included in the package to improve the ruined road network.
With Rs5 billion investment, the cotton revival programme will be launched in South Punjab. The construction of Murunj Dam on Kaha Hill Torrent worth Rs10 billion, reclamation of waterlogged agriculture land of Border Area along Hakra Canal Rs1.6 billion, Mitigation of Water Logging in District R.Y.Khan Rs1.6 billion, reclamation of agriculture land in the command area of Abbasia Canal and Abbasia Link Canal are included in the package to improve agriculture services in the area.
The 500KV Vehari substation will be constructed with Rs20 billion to ensure a smooth electricity supply in the area.
Some small projects at the union council level in district Muzaffargarh are also made part of the package, having Rs1.7 billion total value.
The establishment of South Punjab Information Technology Zone at Khawaja Farid University of Engineering & Information Technology (KFUEIT), Rahim Yar Khan and the establishment of Skill Development Centre at Islamia University in collaboration with NAVTAC are included in the package.
There will also be a real-time online bidding platform exclusively for cattle / buffalo traders
The Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Oncology at Sheikh Zayed Medical College / Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan will be set up with a Rs2 billion investment.
ELECTRIFICATION: The PTI government has decided to launch the electrification of 600,000 households project through microgrids and individual solar home systems with minimum battery storage. The estimated cost of the project is Rs50 billion.
In the agriculture and livestock sector, the FMD free zones integrated with value- added Livestock & Allied Products City Complex worth Rs4.5 billion, Mango Export Promotion through Value Chain approach Rs3.5 billion, Potato Integrated Value Chain Development (Seed production, processing & value addition) Rs3.2 billion and Peri-Urban Small to Medium Milk Pasteurization Units Rs800 million are included in the package.
The plan includes Rs52 billion worth 21 new schemes in South Punjab districts. The 220kv Dharki-Rahim Yar Khan power transmission station with Rs15.8 billion investment is also part of the package. The project had been approved in September 2019.
The other major projects include Rs7.2 billion worth construction of roads on Indus River in Rahim Yar Khan, construction of a road in Bahawalpur with Rs3.6 billion cost, dualization of Mian Channu Road with Rs2.1 billion cost, dualization of Karam dad Qureshi Road, Muzaffargarh at Rs2.3 billion, expansion of Tehsil Taunsa road with Rs8.3 billion investment, widening of Haroonabad to Fort Abbas Road with Rs2.6 billion cost,
The establishment of COMSATS university in Kot Addu worth Rs1.9 billion, strengthening of Islamia University Bahawalpur Rs4.2 billion, strengthening of the Women University Multan at Rs1.5 billion cost is made part of the package.
Asad Umar said the federal government was committed to providing a maximum share in federal resources to South Punjab for its speedy development and bringing it at par with other areas by the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.