Islamabad: The National Development Council (NDC) on Thursday reviewed and approved several proposed development initiatives for Balochistan and the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a news source reported. Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan chaired the maiden meeting of the high-powered body, which was formed in June.
As per the press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the meeting members assessed the development plan for Balochistan, the master plan for Gwadar, creation of China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC) Authority and an expedited development plan 2019-20 for the newly-merged tribal districts.
The detailed development plan for the Balochistan included many schemes to promote the socio-economic growth of the province. The meeting decided that every possible effort would be undertaken to increase the development budget of the Balochistan over the tenure of next nine years, to enable it to overcome the development challenges, to reduce the budget deficit and to improve its revenue generation capacity.
The meeting was also informed that the completion of the M-8 motorway project and the construction of the Chaman-Quetta-Karachi Motorway (819-kilometre-long), Basima-Khuzdar Road, and Awaran-Bela Road projects would improve the connectivity and communication infrastructure of Balochistan.
The council approved the feasibility studies to be conducted upon a port at Gaddani and the establishment of the special economic zone at Hub. The NDC also approved the formation of the National Coastal Development Authority for development of tourist resorts along the coastal lines. A proposal to build eight landing sites to promote local boat industry, provision of 10,000 green boats was also approved.
The meeting also reviewed the suggestion to divide the province into four zones and be equipped with an efficient model to encourage investments in large-scale mining, and to develop mines and mineral resources in Balochistan. The NDC members were informed that the development of new four blocks for oil and gas development was also in the works, not to mention the seismic survey on-going on 30 onshore sites.
The meeting approved the constitution of the CPEC Authority to ensure speedy execution of the projects. A conceptual framework for Gwadar special economic district was also approved.
Moreover, an accelerated 10-tier development plan for the erstwhile FATA was also discussed. The NDC reiterated the federal government’s commitment to secure the funds' availability, timely release, special dispensation for procurement of specialised execution agencies (National Engineering Services of Pakistan, Frontier Works Organisation and National Highway Authority) and facilitation for screened NGOs to be operated within the tribes from smooth project executions.