Over Rs697m fixed for 4 hydropower projects in AJK

13 June 2008
The Dawn

Muzaffarabad: The federal government has earmarked Rs697.254 million in its public sector development programme for the next financial year for initiation of four hydropower generation projects in Azad Jammu and Kashmir with total generation capacity estimated at 64.4 megawatts. Briefing journalists, the AJK prime minister’s adviser on planning and development, Chaudhry Tariq Farooq, said these projects included Bitar (4.8MW), Dhanna (17.5MW), Jagran II (43.5MW) and Jheeng (14.4MW) and their estimated cost was Rs8,165 million. The federal government, he said, had also earmarked Rs500 million under the ‘Pyara Kashmir’ project, aimed at rehabilitation of infrastructure in 13 constituencies of AJK assembly located along the Line of Control. Similarly, the federal government had also proposed Rs300 million in the next fiscal for “Green and Skilled Kashmir” project under which around eight different schemes had been submitted by the AJK government. However, sources said, none of these schemes had been placed before or approved by any forum. The adviser also listed more than a dozen other projects in education, forestry, environment, science and technology, agriculture and livestock and other sectors for which the federal government had reserved sizeable funds in its PSDP. In the education sector, he said, Rs15.64 million out of the estimated Rs150 million had been earmarked for award of 100 scholarships to students from Indian held Kashmir in the field of medicine, engineering and information technology. He said Rs50 million had been reserved for Scouts Cadet College Chattar Klas along Kohala-Muzaffarabad Road. Highlighting the current status of some ongoing federal funded projects, the adviser said Rs700 million had been sanctioned in 2007-08 for the Rs3,083.961 million water supply scheme for New Mirpur City and Hamlets under the Mangla Dam package but of that allocation hardly Rs175 million had been spent in the ongoing year. Similarly, he said the Rathua Haryam Bridge, for which Rs562.33 million were sanctioned in the current year, had also seen a spending of not more than Rs250 million. According to sources, though the contract for the said bridge was yet to be allotted, the contract for the approach roads had already been allotted four months ago to a relative of a top government functionary in Azad Kashmir. Regarding the AJK’s PSDP, he said the AJK government had demanded Rs11.5 billion in the priorities committee but had been pledged Rs9.555 billion, Rs800 million of which included the foreign component. “This is also a big increase in view of the financial problems Pakistan is facing and we are grateful to the new government in Islamabad,” Mr Farooq said.