NAs budget increased by 90pc: Sherpao
11 July 2003
The News International
GILGIT: Chief Executive Northern Areas and Minister for KANA and Water and Power Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said on Friday that the annual budget of the NAs had been increased by 90 per cent and it would be further increased gradually.During a meeting with the members of the Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) here on Friday, Sherpao said that President Musharraf and Premier Jamali were taking keen interest in the development of Northern Areas to bring them at par with other developed parts of the country.Sherpao said that the federal government has allocated a record development budget of Rs three billion for Northern Areas. He said that a network of roads was being built in the NAs, besides uplifting of the telecommunication network. He told the NALC members that the government was spending generously for the provision of quality education and health facilities to the people of NAs.Sherpao said that the government would utilise funds provided under the Khushal Pakistan Programme (KPP) for improving infrastructure and provision of basic amenities to the people of the Northern Areas.He said the basic aim of his visit to acquaint himself with the problems facing by the quake-victims and the steps taken for the rehabilitation of those affected by Indian firing and shelling. He said the government would provide all-out assistance for their rehabilitation.Sherpao said that bunkers would be constructed along the LoC for the safety of the people of the area and they would be provided more relief. He directed the NAs administration to simplify the procedure of issuing border passes to those wanted to engage themselves in trade with China so that they could earn their livelihood in a respectful manner.He informed the NALC members that work on 18-MW Naltar Hydel power project would shortly be started and two new power stations, having 4-MW capacity, would also be set up at Guro to overcome the power shortage in the area during the winter season. He said to execute all the development projects timely a new position of the chief engineer was being created in the NAPWD for Baltistan region.He asked the NAs administration to adopt easy procedure to get local youth enrolled in the Northern Areas Police Department so that unemployment in the area could be reduced. Sherpao also directed the Northern Areas Public Works Department (NAPWD) to allocate Rs 20 million for purchase of 11-MW diesels generates to overcome loadshedding in winter.He also directed to allocate Rs 80 million in the current annual development programme to add 2 MW of electricity from Jaglote Gah hydropower project. The minister was briefed on the electric potential in the Northern Areas in the meeting at Naltar. Secretary NAPWD, Brig Masroor Abbasi gave the briefing.Sherpao directed that road from the Naltar Pain to Naltar Bala should be widened to 24 feet, to facilitate local people and boost tourism. He directed for immediate supply of electricity and potable water to the local people of Naltar Bala. He was informed that the NAs had a potential to produce 5348 MW of electricity from the sites already identified by the Wapda.In addition, the Northern Areas Public Works Department (NAPWD) has identified 12 potential sites, with the capacity to produce 54 MW of hydropower at the cost of $66.36 million, while ongoing 14 projects would produce 46 MW of electricity to entire Northern Areas. He announced that Gilgit-Skardu road would be expanded and work would be started soon by NHA or FWO to meet the emergencies.He also announced to establish appellate court in NAs soon to hear appeals against the verdicts of NAs chief court. He said that recently promotion cases of NAs judiciary were finalised and orders were issued. The minister has also announced that President Musharraf will lay foundation stone of multi-purpose Sadpara Dam in Skardu so that all problems of drinking water, irrigation and power would be solved.He announced that according to the recommendations of the committee constituted by NAs Legislative Council more powers would be delegated to the people to end anxiety among the people of the area.